Lahore, Apr 15 (ANI): President Asif Ali Zardari's decision to bow to Pakistan Taliban demands and impose the Nizam-e-Adl in the Malakand division of the Swat Valley is marked by al Qaeda-allied militants taking over Buner, just 60 miles away from Islamabad.
The takeover in Buner, with almost no resistance from security forces, marks a major advance for the Taliban, a report published in The St Petersburg Times states.
It said the government's endorsement of Islamic law further increased their political clout. In Washington, the Obama Administration had no immediate comment.
According to the report, Pakistan constitutes the most serious security threat the US administration faces in light of the Taliban's advance, the military's inability or unwillingness to combat them, the government's weakness and the country's economic crisis.
The report notes that the decision to implement sharia came after parliament, under what amounted to a death threat from the Taliban, unanimously approved a resolution backing the move.
The takeover of Buner and the imposition of sharia in Swat are an outgrowth of the Taliban's violent conquest of Swat, completed in February, the Daily Times reported.
The provincial government in the NWFP had forged a deal with the Taliban, agreeing to the imposition of Islamic law in return for an end to the fighting, but the accord didn't enter into force because Zardari hesitated to give the necessary assent.
The US has voiced concerns over the deal in Swat, as have members of Pakistan's small liberal elite. But politicians said they were left with few options after a band of Taliban defeated the army in Swat.
"This (sharia) has been imposed from a position of defeat. This is a formula for the Talibanisation of Pakistan," said Iqbal Haider, a co-chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
The report predicts that Western-style schools, where English is the language of instruction, could be the Taliban's next target.
Several schools in Islamabad closed on Monday, and others in Punjab, the country's most populous region, have beefed up their security. (ANI)