After considerable negotiation the Swat Valley chapter of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) agreed to a permanent ceasefire in the war-torn region. The move seemed to solidify the agreement last week between the government and the powerful cleric Sufi Muhammad, founder of the Tehreek-e Nafaz-e Shariat-e Mohammadi (TNSM) to enforce Islamic law in Malakand, a broad region in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) that includes the Swat Valley.
The TTP has a national umbrella organization which has said it would support the local chapter with whatever decision they made on the matter. The success of the Malakand pact has led the Bajauri chapter of the TTP to once again offer a ceasefire on the condition that the long-standing military operations in the agency halt. The Bajaur TTP has attempted ceasefires in the past, but the Pakistani government has never abided by them. Bajaur Agency is the northernmost part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), bordering both Afghanistan and Malakand.
And while the move toward peace has been a great relief to locals, it has ruffled many feathers on the international scene. The United States has already made clear its objections to the deal, now neighboring India – with whom the Pakistani government has seen rising tensions since the Mumbai terrorist attack of November, is condemning it as well.
Pranab Mukherjee, the External Affairs Minister of India, said the peace underscored that Pakistan remains in denial over the issue of cross-border terrorism. Mukherjee added that the deal was a matter of “deep concern” for his government and that no compromise with any Taliban organization should be tolerated.