Su­dan to re­in­force sharia af­ter south vote: Bashir

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

KHAR­TOUM: Pres­i­dent Omar al-Bashir has said that north­ern Su­dan will re­in­force its Is­lamic laws af­ter a Jan­uary ref­er­en­dum which is ex­pected to grant in­de­pen­dence to the south.

"If south Su­dan se­cedes, we'll change the con­sti­tu­tion. There will be no ques­tion of cul­tural or eth­nic di­ver­sity. Sharia will be the only source of the con­sti­tu­tion, and Ara­bic the only of­fi­cial lan­guage," he said in a speech on na­tional tele­vi­sion. South­ern­ers are set to vote in a ref­er­en­dum on Jan­uary 9 on whether to re­main united with the north or break away and form their own coun­try.

The vote is a key plank of the 2005 Com­pre­hen­sive Peace Agree­ment be­tween the mainly Mus­lim north and pre­dom­i­nantly Chris­tian south that put an end to more than two decades of civil war.

An­a­lysts are pre­dict­ing that the south­ern­ers will opt for in­de­pen­dence, and se­nior of­fi­cials in Khar­toum are even be­gin­ning to ac­cept the idea of the split.

An aide to Bashir ad­mit­ted on Thurs­day that south Su­dan would prob­a­bly choose se­ces­sion be­cause ef­forts aimed at pro­mot­ing unity had failed.

"De­spite our work for unity, we should not de­ceive our­selves or cling to dreams. We should rely on the facts on the ground," the of­fi­cial SUNA news agency quoted Nafie Ali Nafie as say­ing. "Af­ter the se­ces­sion of the south, we could see the north rad­i­calise and the cre­ation of a Mus­lim caliphate," one for­eign of­fi­cial said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Af­ter the civil war, Bashir's Na­tional Congress Party (NCP) and the for­mer south­ern rebel Su­dan Peo­ple's Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment (SPLM) agreed on an in­terim con­sti­tu­tion valid un­til July 2011.

The con­sti­tu­tion recog­nises the "multi-eth­nic," "multi-cul­tural" and "multi-faith" sta­tus of the Su­danese state, and is based on both sharia, or Is­lamic law, and the "con­sen­sus" of the pop­u­la­tion. It also recog­nises Ara­bic and English as the two of­fi­cial lan­guages of Africa's largest coun­try, which was for­merly un­der Bri­tish and Egyp­tian rule.

Bri­tain's For­eign Sec­re­tary Wil­liam Hague on Sun­day put Su­dan and Le­banon into the same bracket as po­ten­tial ar­eas of re­newed con­flict in the Arab world. They were the "two ar­eas in Jan­uary that are most ob­vi­ous at this stage to watch for a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis or an out­break of vi­o­lence," Hague told Bri­tain's Sky News tele­vi­sion.

"So across the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity we must be ready to do ev­ery­thing we can to as­sist with those coun­tries," he said in ref­er­ence to Su­dan's ref­er­en­dum and a UN-backed in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ex-Le­banese premier Rafiq Hariri's murder. -Afp

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