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FACTBOX: Facts about insurgency in Pakistan's Swat valley

(Reuters) - Pakistani Taliban militants announced on Tuesday an indefinite ceasefire in the Swat valley in the northwest of the country, a day after the army said it was ceasing operations in the region.

The ceasefire follows an agreement by authorities to enforce Islamic sharia law in the valley, which until 2007 was one of Pakistan’s prime tourist destinations.

Here are some facts about the Taliban insurgency there.

* Islamist militancy emerged in Swat, an alpine beauty spot, in the 1990s when Maulana Sufi Mohammad took up arms to impose sharia law in Swat and neighboring areas of Malakand, Dir as well as in the Bajaur Pashtun tribal region on the Afghan border.

* Mohammad was arrested after he returned to Pakistan having led thousands of fighters to Afghanistan in 2001 in a vain attempt to help the Taliban resist U.S.-backed forces.

* Pakistani authorities released him in 2008 in a bid to defuse another uprising that broke out in late 2007, this time led by his son-in-law, Maulana Fazlullah, who has ties with other Pakistani Taliban factions and al Qaeda.

* Fazlullah called his men to arms after a military assault began on the Red Mosque in Islamabad in mid-2007 to put down a armed movement that was seeking to impose Islamic law in the capital. Fazlullah used illegal FM radio to propagate his message and became known as Mullah Radio.

* The Pakistan army deployed troops in Swat in October 2007 and used artillery and gunship helicopters to reassert control. But insecurity mounted after a civilian government came to power a year ago and tried to reach a negotiated settlement.

* A peace accord fell apart in May. Since then hundreds of people, including soldiers, militants and civilians have been killed in battles.

* Militants unleashed a reign of terror, killing and beheading politicians, singers, soldiers and opponents. They have banned female education and destroyed nearly 200 girls’ schools.

* About 1,200 people have been killed since late 2007 and between 250,000 and 500,000 people have fled the valley, leaving the militants in virtual control.

* Pakistan offered on February 16 to introduce Islamic law in Swat valley and neighboring areas of the northwest in a bid to take the steam out of the Taliban insurgency.

* Under Nizam-e-Adl or Islamic system of justice, all judicial laws contrary to Islamic teachings stand canceled and the courts will decide cases in line with Islamic injunctions.

* Unlike the Taliban courts, which have been summarily handing out severe punishments such as stoning to death adulterers and rapists, there will be a system of appeal on the decisions handed out by courts in Swat and neighboring districts. Ordinary judges, with a knowledge of Islam, will officiate and analysts said the courts are unlikely to hand down Taliban-like sentences.

Compiled by the World Desk +44 207 542 7917