The truce agreement that aims to bring peace to the restive Swat Valley in return for the implementation of Islamic law has been popular among those who it directly effects. The militant factions in the area have been pushing for this for a long time, and the civilian populace is optimistic that it may end the near-daily military shellings of their villages. Yet not everybody is happy with the prospect of peace in the Swat Valley, particularly in the west.
NATO in particular, being involved in an endless war in neighboring Afghanistan, sees the truce as “reason for concern.” Spokesman James Appathurai declares “we should all be concerned by a situation in which extremists would have a safe haven.” British officials pointed out that previous peace deals hadn’t ended in a “long-term solution,” while one anonymous Pentagon official declared “it is hard to view this as anything other than a negative development.”
Pakistan’s inability to shoehorn a military solution onto the problem of unrest in its various tribal areas may certainly be seen as costing it considerable credibility – particularly as it continues virtually identical operations in nearby agencies. Yet the truce concessions reflect little more than the reality of the situation: as ruling party MP Sayed Ala ud-Din pointed out “the military operation has been proven useless and fruitless.”