Lahore, Apr 28 (ANI): The Taliban have been promoting themselves as Islamic Robin Hoods, defending the rural poor from the corrupt and oppressive ruling elite.
Their message has resonated in the countryside where the culture is deeply conservative and the people desperately poor, the CNN has said on Sunday.
In farmlands just 24 kilometres from Islamabad, Mohammed Daoud - whose family of seven survive on Rs 4,000 a month he and his 15-year old son earn by selling buffalo milk - told CNN, "Justice is only for people who have money. We are illiterate, but we are hoping that with sharia law, our lives will get better."
Two months ago, Daoud said, the government had bulldozed his family's house, because they were illegally squatting on property they did not own.
There is widespread hope, the CNN noted, that adopting a code of law based on the holy Quran will transform a society where corruption is rampant and where at least a quarter of the population live below the poverty line.
"It's systematic," said Amnesty International's Sam Zarifi, "the Taliban move into an area, they use local existing resentments. They often go in with the guise of being Robin Hoods. They scare away local thieves, they impose very, very quick justice, very harsh justice, and initially in some places they are even welcomed."
"Every part of the country should have sharia, like in Saudi Arabia," an Islamabad farmer told CNN. "Then poor and rich people will be equal."
"We love the Taliban," announced one Pashtun farmer.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan summed up his response to the Taliban by saying, "The poorer section of society is joining them... this is now developing into a battle between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'."
"What the Taliban are giving them is cheap - in fact, free - accessible justice at the village level," he added. "This is what Pakistan should be doing for its own people." (ANI)