THE news of the conclusion of a peace deal between the government and the elders of the Mohmand, the largest and most important tribe in Bajaur, which brings the six-month-long military operation against the militants in the agency to an end, has come as a great relief to the local residents and, indeed, the entire nation. If sincerely put into effect by both sides, it would turn out to be a milestone on the long and treacherous road to loosening the grip of terrorists, that has held the tribal region hostage for such a long time. Bajaur is a strategically key agency as far as crossborder infiltration is concerned, since it is located at a sensitive point bordering Afghanistan. On the occasion of signing the agreement, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan fighters released five kidnapped soldiers as a gesture of goodwill. The 28 points on which the accord is based, clearly signify that the tribesmen have agreed to abide by the writ of the state in their land unreservedly. They would end militant activity, lay down their arms, surrender heavy weapons, register themselves with their tribes and submit certificates of good conduct and create no hurdle in the free movement of the Army in the area and, if it wanted, set up new checkposts there. Foreigners will not be allowed either to own or rent any property, and if found to be living there the tribes would see to it that they leave. Similarly, no unauthorised radio station would be allowed to operate or conduct any propaganda hostile to the government; and any violation would be penalised by the imposition of a fine of Rs one million. Bajaur has been the scene of intense fighting for some time past. It was only last month that the Army was able to establish a decisive control there by capturing two crucial heights, as a result of which the Taliban found themselves virtually surrounded from all sides. This insecure position might have contributed a great deal to inducing the TTP to first announce a unilateral ceasefire and then agree to a peace deal, which, to all intents and purposes, is one sided. It is absolutely necessary that the government implement the peace deal in letter and in spirit. Such accords have come a cropper in the past, with both sides accusing each other of violating them, and the Americans crying hoarse about the militants posing greater threat as a consequence. Islamabad would, therefore, also have to engage them to explain how crucial the deal could become in weakening the Taliban hold on the local people. The US is apt to look askance at any peace move for fear that the militants only seek peace to regroup and gather strength.