THE recently brokered Swat deal, which was widely hailed in the country, is under strain, apparently on account of the failure by the government to meet its obligations and a resort to pressure tactics by militants. On Sunday, two Frontier Corps personnel were injured in an attack on a convoy, while its district commander was kidnapped along with four guards. Meanwhile, Maulana Sufi Mohammad, who was acting as arbitrator, has said that he was dissatisfied with the steps so far taken by the administration. He has warned that unless the Qazis were appointed and prisoners released by March 15, he would be left with no option but to re-launch a protest movement. There is a need on the part of the government to fulfill its promises and the militants to display patience. The peace agreement had given hopes to many that an era of tranquility and harmony would return to the valley. This had encouraged thousands of displaced persons to start returning to their homes. The deterioration of law and order that started soon after the Lal Masjid operation in July 2007 had soon after led to attacks on girls' schools, barbershops, video markets and government property. A district known for a low crime rate was engulfed by a full-blown insurgency. Peace brokered by the newly elected ANP-led coalition turned out to be shortlived, with both sides blaming each other for its collapse. The subsequent resumption of military operations, which was to continue for nearly four months, caused largescale devastation without bringing peace. In the process, scores of thousands of displaced persons were forced out of hearth and home, and made to seek shelter in cities outside the valley. It was natural therefore for the news of a bilateral ceasefire to be widely welcomed in the country despite the five points of the agreement remaining a well guarded secret. Why the conditions of the accord have not been met thus remains a secret. A perception is, therefore, bound to emerge that, like accords with tribal leaders in the past, the arrangement in Swat is not acceptable to Washington, which is keen to resolve the issue of militancy through military means alone. It is now clear that Pakistan's delegation has failed to effectively plead its case during the ongoing review of the Obama Administration's regional policy, regarding the harm being done by aggressive US policies in the tribal areas. This alone explains why Waziristan was again targeted on Sunday, leaving seven people dead. What is more, top US leaders, both civilian and military, have vowed to continue the drone attacks. A perception is also being formed that the government has bowed to US pressure to continue the military operation in Swat. Unless Islamabad takes a stand in support of the Swat accord, it is likely to be accused by the opposition of bartering away the country's interests for small gains.