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February 18, 2009

Scenes from Pakistan

The government of Pakistan announced on Monday that it would accept Islamic Sharia Law to be implemented in its Swat Valley region, as part of a truce with local Taliban leaders. Militants had been demanding Sharia law, attacking opponents, burning scores of girls' schools and banning many forms of entertainment. Gun battles between Pakistani security forces and militants have killed hundreds, while up to a third of the valley's 1.5 million people have fled. A nuclear power with a growing economy, Pakistan's government is still struggling for control of the country, coping with internal clashes and terrorism, that can bleed over and involve neighbors and allies, including militant attacks in India, and excursions into Afghanistan - inviting U.S. military operations that follow the attackers back into Pakistan. Collected here are 40 recent photos from Pakistan, with a special acknowledgement to the artistry of AP Photographer Emilio Morenatti. (40 photos total)

Imran Zargul, 71, from the Pakistani tribal region of Bajur waits for donated food during a distribution at the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, Feb. 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Supporters of the Islamist political part Jamaat-e-Islami take part in a protest to show their solidarity with Kashmiris during an anti-India rally to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day, in Lahore, Pakistan on February 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Mohsin Raza) #

Younis Khan, captain of the Pakistan national cricket team is bowled by Sri Lanka's Nuwan Kulasekara (not pictured) during their second one-day international cricket match at the National Stadium in Karachi, Pakistan on January 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Athar Hussain) #

A man holds two sheep on a motorcycle a long a road on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

Shiite Muslim worshippers celebrate the end of Ashura by pounding their hands on their chest during a procession in Islamabad , Pakistan, on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009. The holiday of Ashura is a time when Shiites remember the death in A.D. 680 of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, the event that led to the split in Islam between Shiites and Sunni Muslims. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

A Pakistani vendor waits for customers as he holds heart-shaped balloons on a street in Islamabad on February 14, 2009. Valentine's Day has gained popularity in Muslim-dominated Pakistan recently. (Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images) #

Indian fishermen stand in a police lockup in Karachi February 6, 2009. Pakistani authorities have arrested 50 Indian fishermen and impounded nine boats for illegally entering Pakistan's territorial waters, a Pakistani security official said on Friday. (REUTERS/Athar Hussain) #

Pakistani men watch a local film in a cinema in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. Entertainers in northwest Pakistan face an escalating threat from Taliban-led militants who consider music, singing and other such arts un-Islamic. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

A Pakistani man waits for customers at his photo studio decorated with film stars in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. Entertainers in northwest Pakistan have been kidnapped and killed by Taliban-led militants, while others have fled, quit or watched work opportunities dwindle. Criminal gangs seeking to extort money are believed to have gotten in on the act as overall security deteriorates. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

Afghan refugees weave carpet at the Kochi refugee camp on the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan February 12, 2009. There are two million Afghans now in Pakistan, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said. (REUTERS/Athar Hussain) #

Afghan refugee children play in the Kochi refugee camp on the outskirts of Karachi February 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Athar Hussain) #

Thousands of local residents hold a rally against the ongoing Pakistani military operations, demanding peace in the region, in Barikot near Mingora, in Pakistan's troubled Swat Valley on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. Pakistan's military has vowed to reinvigorate its efforts in Swat, a formerly peaceful region where Taliban militants have gained ground during 18 months of fighting. (AP Photo/Sherin Zada) #

A Pakistani man waits next to his tools to be hired as a day laborer in a street in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

Muslim devotees light oil lamps at the shrine of Muslim saint Data Ganj Bakhsh in Lahore February 14, 2009. Thousands of devotees from all over the country were expected to attend the three-day festival to mark the anniversary of the death of the saint. (REUTERS/Mohsin Raza) #

A model displays a creation of Pakistani designer Shar during a fashion show celebrating Valentine's Day in Lahore, Pakistan on February 14, 2009. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images) #

Hands reach up for free food handouts at the shrine of the Muslim saint Data Ganj Bakhsh in Lahore February 15, 2009. (REUTERS/Mohsin Raza) #

Tribesmen gather near a damaged bridge after it was blown up by suspected militants in a tribal area near Khyber Pass on the outskirts of Peshawar February 3, 2009. Suspected militants blew up the bridge, cutting the main route for supplies bound for Western forces in Afghanistan, Pakistani government officials said. (REUTERS/Adil Khan) #

Soldiers of Pakistan's paramilitary force guard a newly built bridge to lead a trailer truck with U.S. and NATO supplies into Pakistani tribal area of Khyber neighboring Afghanistan on Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. A suicide car bomber blew himself up in the troubled Khyber tribal region after tribal police signaled him to halt during a routine check, government official said. (AP Photo/Qazi Tariq) #

Pakistani police officers collect evidence next to a U.N. vehicle rammed against a wall, where an American U.N. official was kidnapped, in the southwest city of Quetta, Pakistan on Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. Gunmen kidnapped an American U.N. official named John Solecki and killed his driver in southwest Pakistan on Monday, police said. Solecki is still being held by a group calling themselves the Baluchistan Liberation United Front, who have threatened to kill him unless 141 prisoners were released by Pakistan. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt) #

A devotee smokes hashish at the shrine of Muslim saint Data Ganj Bakhsh in Lahore February 16, 2009. (REUTERS/Mohsin Raza) #

Pakistani police officers and media gather around the bodies of militants killed in a gun battle with police, at police headquarter in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009. The police killed nine militants in the clash, and foiled an attempt to kidnap a person in the city, a police official said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad) #

Residents carry an elderly woman on a cot as they flee from an area in Pakistan's troubled Swat Valley February 2, 2009. Caught between the Pakistani military and their Taliban militants, thousands of civilians are fleeing from fighting in northwest Pakistan's Swat valley. (REUTERS/Abdul Rehman) #

A Pakistani man and child ride a bicycle on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

A Pakistani gunman is seen at the scene of a bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009. A car bomb exploded near the residence of a local government official, killing six people and wounding 12 others on the outskirts of the main northwest city of Peshawar, a police official said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad) #

Paramedic staff provides treatment to a victim of a bomb blast at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan on February 17, 2009. A car bomb killed five people and wounded 16 on Tuesday outside the home of an official who was raising a militia to fight Islamist militants in northwestern Pakistan, witnesses and police said. (REUTERS/Ali Imam) #

Students of the Jamia Binoria Al-Almia seminary sit for the exams for religious scholars in Karachi February 1, 2009. Some seventeen hundred students sat for the examination this year. (REUTERS/Athar Hussain) #

A Pakistani barber cuts the hair of a boy in a barber shop on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Jan. 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

Pervez Chachar and his wife Humera Kambo sit in a makeshift room in police headquarters in Karachi January 16, 2009. After falling in love and marrying without their families' permission, the newlyweds (from rival tribes) dare not venture out of the police station as they fear their families will hunt them down and kill them to preserve the families' honor. (REUTERS/Athar Hussain) #

A Pakistani man peels corncobs in a vegetables market in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

A displaced Pakistani child tends to his sheep near a makeshift camp at a secure location in troubled Swat Valley on February 7, 2009. Local officials said last week that 20,000 people had fled Swat recently. A lucrative tourist industry for Western and Pakistani holidaymakers after skiing and mountain hikes now lies decimated. Thousands of followers of radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah are waging a violent campaign to impose their extremist interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, beheading opponents, threatening detractors and fighting the government. (CHAND KHAN/AFP/Getty Images) #

Residents stand at a damaged school building after it was blown up by militants in Swat Valley January 26, 2009. Militants blew up a government high school, district officials said. Schools are closed for a winter break and no one was hurt. Militants have destroyed more than 180 valley schools, most of them for girls. (REUTERS/Abdul Rehman) #

Delegation members of Pakistani Islamist leader Sufi Mohammad from the Swat valley arrive to attend a meeting with government officials, political and religious leaders in Peshawar February 16, 2009. Pakistan agreed to introduce Islamic law in Swat valley and neighbouring areas of the northwest on Monday in a bid to take the steam out of a Taliban uprising raging since late 2007. (REUTERS/Ali Imam) #

Girls read at a school after schools reopened in Swat Valley February 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Abdul Rehman) #

Pakistani tribesmen hold funeral prayers for victims of Saturday's missile attack in the tribal region in Miranshah, near the Afghan border February 15, 2009. A U.S. missile attack killed at least 25 al Qaeda-linked militants in a Pakistani tribal region on Saturday, security and Taliban officials said, the highest death toll of militants in a single such strike. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

An Afghan soldier stands guard at the border with Pakistan near Nawapass village, Kunar province, in eastern Afghanistan February 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Oleg Popov) #

A Shiite Muslim worshipper flagellates himself with knives to celebrate the end of Ashura during a procession in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Monday, Feb. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

A Shiite Muslim worshipper receives medical care in a clinic, after flagellating himself with knives in a procession in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Monday, Feb. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

People walk past a boy playing marbles in the street in Rawalpindi , Pakistan, Monday, Feb. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

Pakistani Christians pray for civilians from the troubled Swat Valley in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

A Pakistani child looks on as women covered with burqas from the tribal region of Bajur and Mohmand agency wait to be registered at the Jalozai refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, Jan. 30, 2009. More than 200,000 people have fled the fighting in Bajur and Mohmand agency to camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

 
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