As the Pakistani military’s offensive against the Buner district continues and the death toll rises, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) Information Minister Ifthkar Hussain says that the establishment of an Islamic appeals court satisfies the government’s end of the Swat Valley peace deal.
Yet the rising tensions with the assorted Taliban-styled militant factions in the region and the growing calls from the United States to escalate attacks in the region suggest that if anything, the peace deal is far from on certain ground. Declaring the peace deal satisfied even as their own military forces continue to launch attacks around the periphery of Malakand certainly don’t help matters.
And indeed, a spokesman for Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM) leader Sufi Muhammad says it does not accept the unilateral court system the government set up. The two sides had been negotiating, unsuccessfully, for the past two days regarding the make-up of the appellate courts.
But Minister Hussain’s comments suggest the government is more interested in excuses for escalation than preserving the peace deal. After announcing the peace deal satisfied, he declared that “now anyone carrying arms would be treated as a rebel.”