LAHORE-The Sharia system of justice in Malakand has been enforced to earn the prized peace not only for Swat and adjoining areas but to also preclude the spread of unrest and disquiet to other parts of the country in the context of local Taliban were gaining ground against the resistance of all kinds. The govt agreement for enforcement of Shariat has been reached with Tehrike Nifaz Sharia of Sufi Muhammad to satisfy a demand as old as 12 years which has now been accepted to prevent further killings, torching of schools, large scale exodus of the people from the area, and to provide them relief from long hours curfew and rapidly diminishing economic activity. When a hope has been kindled to bring peace back to that areas, stocktaking is needed to know what price is being paid for it at judicial, political, social, international and most of all, at the State level. Another question striking the mind relates to the fate of this agreement being any different from others that met in the past when it has also put the govt to test to blend practical Shariat system with the mainstream judicial and administrative one of the county as well as to make the same acceptable to the people internally and externally. Jurists and the politicians laying bare their mind on the move, say that justice system is what guides and regulates in a way the administrative and political system. Will the govt be able to put limits to the Sharia enforcement in this regard, is another question? To win peace in the restive parts of the country, the Parliament through consensus of all political parties inside or outside the House, hammered out a 14-point formula which also envisaged employing means of dialogue with locals and fighting the hardcore elements. The bottom-line of the Parliament resolution was to address the genuine grievances of the locals to bring them to mainstream so that govt writ is established in that areas. And now it has to be seen whether agreement on Nifaze Shariat would result in establishing writ of the State in that area or granting permission for setting up a State within the State. Jurists ask, how Nifaz-e-Sharia in one part of the country be blended with the Roman Law currently operational in others while dealing with day to day affairs. The people of Malakand struggled for Nifaze Islam in early 90s. First time in 1996 the PPP govt agreed to their demand but that could not last long. Then in its fag end, the govt of Nawaz Sharif in 1999 moved to enforce Islamic system in that part but the military coup pulled down a curtain on it. The demand of the locals for Shariat was not without substance after they had seen the system operational for around 150 years till 1969. Constitutionally speaking, the room is provided to the govt to frame laws according to the spirit of Holy Quran and Sunnah. Our Constitution has been titled 'Islamic Republic' and with a view to striking down any law repugnant to the spirit of Holy Quran of Sunnah, Federal Shariat Council and Council of Islamic Ideology were constituted by the military govt of Ziaul Haq and both are providing assistance to-date. Constitution also commands for laws which help the people adapt their lives according to the teachings of Islam which differ markedly from the Roman Law in terms of the award of punishment. If penalty and punishment under the Islamic laws are thought harsh by the countrymen and inhuman by the outside world, the disposal of cases, particularly civil ones under the Roman Law, are hit by inordinate delay. Still the cases relating to pre-partition time are pending before the court of law. Even the time span fixed under the special laws has been rarely followed. So both have their negatives and positives. Under the agreement, the maximum span of six months has been fixed for deciding a case of civil nature and lesser period for that of a criminal one. This certainly is doable. However in view of the jurists, the decisions of Shariat courts would fall within the Constitutional ambit if they were associated with the Superior Courts of the country, even for the purpose of appeals, and in that event, they would be also recognised internationally. All subordinate courts are subject to the superior judiciary and if the Shariat courts remain outside the frame, difficulties may arise. So among others, the question is would Shariat courts operate independently to exercise jurisdiction on anything it finds unIslamic or to limit its jurisdiction? The jurists also stress on making the existing judicial system and courts more efficient and effective else they fall low in public eye, in the administration of justice highlighting value of Shariat Courts. The move also has political dimensions. The most vital question is, whether govt be able to maintain its authority in the region if any of its act is found by the Shariat court not meeting the four corner of the Islamic law? Top of it all, would the locals subject to Shariat law and governed by the administration stemming from it, accept authority of the heads coming to power through public enfranchisement and not through the Islamic system of Shoora? It is also to be seen what way the govt would prevent other areas from coming under the effect of this agreement and how the people subject to Shariat law and those under regular law would be tagged together for the purpose of trade, social contacts, agreements, contracts, any offence, etc. Not that but study is also needed to find out means to put together UN and other international pacts relating to aid and others with regard to these areas. The govt by agreement for Nifaze Shariat has also accepted challenge to convince and appease international community and the Rights Bodies which have never in the past accepted such arrangements. The govt after the agreement has little room to draw back as it may cost the country and the nation very heavily. The situation under which the agreement has been reached, any step backward from the agreement may be termed another betrayal, and fall-outs may be very serious. What is required by the govt, in observers view, not to let the Malakand system from being perceived by the world, which it did about the Taliban in Afghanistan. The govt has to satisfy the people of Malakand for the sake of peace, and at the same time, it needs to retain that part in the central folds, which ,however, is not an easy task, observers say.