Their “crime” was an alleged affair in their remote mountain village controlled by militants in an area that was only recently under the government’s sway. It was the kind of barbarity that has become increasingly familiar across Pakistan as the Taliban tide has spread.
In the past few days the footage has circulated among Pakistanis who usually show little interest in the rough ways of the distant frontier regions.
They have now started to wake up to the fear that al-Qaeda-linked rebels from the frontier could take over their nation.
The killings happened in Hangu district, in North West Frontier Province, about two hours drive from the regional capital Peshawar. The punishment was administered by a local group of the Pakistani Taliban, the Islamic militia which has swept across the NWFP towards the capital Islamabad.
Last week, the Taliban had reached within 60 miles of Islamabad, in Buner district. Their takeover sparked panic in the West, which was already appalled by a peace deal that the government had signed this month with Taliban in adjacent the Swat valley.
Pakistan is in danger of a take over by the Taliban, but much depends on how loyal the army is to the state. Anyone care to guess how long before the the whole situation erupts into a full fledged civil war, with calls for jihad to waged against the Pakistani government? And the “anlaysts & experts” will be pondering why it happened, since many of the Pakistanis are ….moderates. KGS