AFTER an agreement between the NWFP government and TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad, the latter has agreed to wind up his protest camp at Timergara where he had been conducting a peaceful campaign for the enforcement of Shariah for the last many months. A five-point agreement has been reached to enforce the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation in Malakand Division, including the Swat valley and Kohistan district. Sufi Muhammad has further announced that once the official seal was put on the agreement, he would leave for Swat to urge the local Tehrik-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) to lay down arms and cooperate with the government. In a simultaneous move the local chapter of the TTP has announced a ten-day ceasefire, during which it would not attack security personnel and government installations. He also claimed that his organisation had released a Chinese engineer, who had been kidnapped last year, as a gesture of goodwill. The local TTP spokesman has, however, maintained that the group would hold their positions and wait to see how sincere the government was in the enforcement of Shariah. There are a number of issues that need clarification. The major plank of the TNSM has been the enforcement of Qazi courts in Malakand Division. What its sister organisation is doing in Swat, indicates a much wider agenda. There has been a consistent and pernicious move to burn schools all over Swat. Education for girls was first banned by the TTP Swat chief, Maulana Fazlullah, who subsequently permitted them to study up to the primary level. Will they continue to be deprived of higher education? There were also numerous incidents of destroying shops selling music and videocassettes and a ban has been imposed on cultural activities. This is extremism opposed to the vision of the Quaid-e-Azam, who wanted Pakistan to be a moderate, pluralistic and democratic Islamic state where laws were to be formulated by an elected Parliament. The hydra-headed militancy in the region does not speak with one voice. Schools continued to burn during the last peace move in Swat and the Taliban accused other groups to be involved. Will the agreement be acceptable to all militant groups? Will some of them not continue to fight till Shariah of their liking is imposed all over the country? There is a dire need for peace in Swat. Military operations against civilian populations create more problems than they solve. There is a need to hold talks with all militant groups who are willing to accept the supremacy of the Constitution and the writ of the state. It would be a bad practice, however, if a parallel legal system was to be introduced in a part of the country, over and above Parliament. The agreement needs to be brought before the National Assembly for debate. Whatever changes in the system, if needed, must have the approval of Parliament.