After the Pakistani National Assembly expressed its unanimous approval, President Asif Ali Zardari signed into law the Nizam-e Adl Regulation, which will place the Swat Valley and the entire Malakand district of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) under Islamic law. Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani says the entire nation stands behind the law.
The Tehreek Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM) and the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), two of the key militant factions in the area lauded the move, which will leave a significant portion of the NWFP under a completely different standard of law than the rest of the nation.
The national imprimatur for the move was the only obstacle left after an agreement this weekend by the militant groups and the provincial government. The peace deal had been in jeopardy since early this month when a video was leaked showing members of one of the militant factions flogging a 17-year-old girl accused of adultery.
The video shocked the nation and created serious public opposition to a deal which was sign by many as greatly enhancing the power of such groups and legalizing such floggings. Yet ultimately the national government chose not to oppose the deal to end fighting in the Swat Valley, which they had been increasingly losing control over.