The Pakistan government has signed a peace accord with religious militants in a last ditch attempt to secure peace in the troubled Swat Valley.
The agreement was announced on Monday between the provincial North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and the Tehreek-e-Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM), an extremist organisation that has been fighting government forces in a bid to establish sharia law in the area.
“It will bring peace to the valley,” promised NWFP CM Ameer Haider Hoti, when asked how the government could justify negotiating with extremist organisations.
The TNSM has been responsible for killing of several people, including army men, as well as blowing up of several schools.
A meeting of a council of elders (Jirga) was held after which it was agreed that Shariah law would be imposed in the Malakand division and parts of the Swat Valley under the Nizam-e-Adat (System of Justice) Regulation 2009. Under this regulation, all laws that went against the spirit of the teachings of Islam would stand void.
US, NATO and Afghan officials have criticised previous peace deals in Pakistan, saying that they have led to an increase in suicide attacks on international and Afghan forces across the border in Afghanistan.