The TTP has not only welcomed the February 8 Kurram Agency Agreement, but has also announced to punish the violators both Shias and Sunnis. Question is how the Taliban-brand of Shariah would be acceptable for the Shia community? Does it mean the Shia community, which is predominantly in majority in the area from Hangu to Parachinar, has virtually surrendered to the Taliban? Does it mean that the powerful Shia community, which had so far been a major block in the strategically important way of the Taliban, has not been provided protection from the government of Pakistan? Has the government also surrendered to the rising power of the Taliban who would be practically controlling the area from now onwards? Question is, have the governments of Pakistan, and Iran a behind-the-scene role in the agreement, as it is believed, and widely propagated by the western media, that the Haqqani-led Taliban group enjoys the backing of Islamabad; and Tehrans now lenient tilt towards the Taliban fighting the anti-Iran foreign occupation in Afghanistan is also understandable. Question is, why Islamabad has not claimed to have brokered this agreement, which is of a major significance and of a great future impact? For the last three-four years the area had been hostage to the fighting between Shia and Sunni factions, which claimed lives of hundreds. The road a strategic route from Peshawar/Rawalpindi-Kohat- to Hnagu-Sadda-Parachinar and short-cut to Jalalabad via Jaji was virtually closed. Even the military convoys had to move under tight security. It was terrible to see even the wagon stands identifying Specific for Shia or Special for Sunni travelers; some markets were out of bound for Sunnis and some for Shias. The ethnic and factional divide was so tense that any outside administrative help had become impossible. There had been impression that the Shia community had the support of Iranian government, but if it is so, then Tehran has wisely realized and timely intervened to help resolve the matter. Credit also goes to Islamabad and the military leadership to let the deal done. But much of the credit goes to the locals either Shias or Sunnis who have realized that such a prolonged feud was not in their interest. The economy, business and trade, was suffering and the countrys most rich and scenic Hangu had turned into a dull and non-visited area. At the sunset till dawn the daku-Taliban (what the locals call them) had the rule over the road and no one was safe from their hands. Such an agreement was long desired and the locals have not only welcomed it, but have also proved that the locals of other agencies and areas where Shia-Sunni sectarian divide has caused unrest, like Orakzai and Gilgit, can follow similar deals to monitor peace and join hands with the government as well as the security forces, because the four-year long sectarian battle has the only message: that it has no end, only peaceful political settlement is the answer. ESCHMALL SARDAR, Peshawar, February 9.