The Legal Dimension of the Military Operations in Swat: An Analysis of ‘Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011’*
The Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province has a distinct constitutional status and, somewhat, different judicial mechanism. In 1989, a movement called Tahrik Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), movement for the enforcement of Islamic law, took a formal start and spread to Swat which led to an uprising in 1994 in Swat and then, as one of its offshoots, developed the crises of 2007–2009. The crises that started in 2007, led to a series of military operations during 2007–2009, which caused great havoc, forced expulsion of civilians, destruction of property and infrastructure as well as loss of thousands of civilian lives. According to the claims of government and security forces, thousands of the Taliban were caught and a large number of them surrendered and interned. In 2011, a regulation called ‗Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011‘ was promulgated so that to give legal cover to the operations 2007–2009 and actions of the ‗Armed Forces‘. This paper critically analyzes this regulation. The paper is not based on media reports only; as the resident of Swat, author‘s personal knowledge of the situation as well as other primary sources and interviews has been utilized in this write up.