Pakistan's deal with Tehrik-i-Taliban, to defuse the Swat situation is the first surrender of the Pakistan government and armed forces to Pakistani Taliban. The ink of the deal had hardly dried when it came under severe pressure with the ultimatum of Sufi Mohammad that qazis must be appointed and Taliban prisoners must be released by March 15. As Sufi Mohammad was giving this ultimatum, two Frontier Corp soldiers were injured in an attack on their convoy and their commandant was kidnapped. Sufi Mohammad also told a press conference at Malakand, that he would personally select qazis to ensure that they meet the Shariah criteria in appearance, personal conduct and character. This is in violation of the stand taken by NWFP government that qazis would be regular judicial officers, but in Malakand they would be called qazis. This deal, no wonder, has hit the US like a ton of bricks. America thinks, and rightly so that this ceasefire and Pakistan's capitulation to Taliban's demand to impose Shariah law of 'their' choosing in Swat and its vast adjoining areas is the first step towards Talibanisation of the country. This is not only in the interest of the US which has been spoon feeding Pakistan and its armed forces with billions of dollars in the hope that they would be able to contain the Taliban and Islamic militancy in the region. More significantly it is against the ideology on which Pakistan was founded by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He wanted a truly Islamic State for the Muslims of India and not - repeat not - a theocratic state headed by mullahs. The Quaid fought a pitched battle with the religious parties of India - Deobandis, Barelvis Jamaat-i-Islami, Ahrars and Khaksaars who wanted to hijack the idea of Pakistan to set-up a theocratic state of their choosing. But they failed. Pakistan continued to survive as an enlightened and progressive Muslim state till it was usurped by an Army Chief Ziaul Haq who wanted to change Pakistan into a theocratic state with the support of redundant religious parties. He imposed some Shariah laws such as flogging, chopping of hands and contain women in the name of chaddar and chaardiwari, but he did not succeed. It is regrettable that the present government which calls itself a democracy and a successor of the late Benazir Bhutto, has succumbed to the blood thirsty Taliban who have declared democracy haram (quote from Sufi Mohammad) who are against women's education. They punish those Muslims who cover their ankles with their shalwars or pants. They call this haram and frighten people that the ankles of those who cover them will burn in hell. Music, TV, films and even photographs are all haram. Our so-called democratic government has capitulated to these fundamentalist radicals and handed over the most beautiful valley of our country to these savages. Pakistan's foreign minister has naively described this outrage a "local solution to a local problem." He thinks that the Americans are stupid enough to accept this deal as "a local solution to a local problem" which is only a "quick dispensation of justice." On top of that, he said: "It is not an appeasement towards militants." He thinks Hollbrooke and Hillary Clinton are simpletons to believe in this gimmick. Mr Hollbrooke has already strongly opposed Pakistan's ceasefire arrangement with militants in Swat. He feels this would allow the militants to rearm and re-group. In a TV interview Mr Hollbrooke said that Pakistan had deployed 120,000 regular army and 50,000 Frontier Corps soldiers on the western area. And far more, double or triple that on the eastern border. "If they could shift more to the west, that would be critically valuable. And not just shift them in regular army formations, but train them for counter-insurgency. They are a regular army trained since independence to defend against India. And like the American army in Vietnam, they're looking backward to the past wars, and not forward." The US has summoned the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan for a comprehensive review of its policies towards Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is significant that their review has been scheduled in the wake of the Swat peace deal which has raised serious concerns in Washington. Had Pakistan government any foresight it would not have made this deal at a time when the US is considering a sizeable increase in its aid up to US$15 billion which Pakistan desperately needs for its survival. Another critical setback to the Pakistan government at this time is the disqualification of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif by a Supreme Court bench to hold any public office or take part in elections. This has plunged the country in a storm of protests and has destabilised Punjab where the president has imposed Governor's Rule after the exit of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. This decision of the Supreme Court combined with the long march of the lawyers next month which will be joined by PML-N, Jamaat-i-Islami and some other opposition parties may turn ugly and cause serious problems for the already fragile government which hardly deserves to remain in power. The large and unwieldy Cabinet of Prime Minister Gilani is dysfunctional and incompetent to solve the country's security and economic problems. It is also noteworthy that Pakistan's Army Chief General Kiyani has received an unusually warm welcome and awarded a high US military medal during his current visit to Washington. In a recent editorial comment, the New York Times has rightly warned: "Almost no one wants to say it out loud. But between the threats from extremists, an unravelling economy, battling civilian leaders and tensions with its nuclear rival India, Pakistan is edging ever closer to the abyss." The writer is former director news, PTV E-mail: burhanhasan@hotmail.com