On Feb. 16, the Pakistani government announced an agreement with the Taliban to observe strict Islamic sharia law in the North West Frontier Province in an effort to bring stability to the region. Sharia Islamic law is interpreted differently by Muslim sects, but the Taliban have consistently used it as their basis for limiting the rights of women.
Since 2007, the militants have closed over 200 girls’ schools in an attempt to keep women confined to their homes. In return for the government’s agreement, the Taliban declared a 10-day cease-fire in Swat Valley. “There is no accounting for the sacrifice of all the people of Swat and the Malakand division,” the province’s chief minister Amir Haider Hoti said. “In my mind, I don’t think that anyone can take this anymore.” Critics contend that the decision will only strengthen the Talibani foothold in the region. To read more about the situation read this New York Times Article.