NEARLY a month and half after the NWFP government and Maulana Sufi Muhammad entered into a peace agreement in Swat, President Asif Ali Zardari has said the decision to implement the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation would come from Parliament. This observation, made at a meeting with editors of print media organizations in Islamabad on Saturday, came amid growing pressure from both the ANP and the leadership of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan for the presidential assent to the deal. Mr Zardari meanwhile reiterated his government's commitment to honour the aspiration of the people of Swat while underscoring the importance of the Taliban keeping their promise to restore peace to the region. The peace agreement has been in the doldrums for some time as both sides continue to stick to their respective stance: the government asking the TTP activists to lay down their arms before asking the President to sign the Shariat Regulation and the TTP insisting that it should be other way round. TNSM Chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad with whom the ANP government had signed the agreement refused to talk to Prime Minister Gilani or any other government representative till the signing of the agreement and the enforcement of Islamic laws in the Malakand Division. There is no disputing the fact that the Swat deal was signed from a position of weakness as the ANP started seeking a negotiated settlement with the militants after the military operations failed to dislodge them from their hideouts. More than anything else it was the lack of coordination between the federal and provincial governments as well as Islamabad's failure to formulate a comprehensive strategy to deal with the counter-insurgency that has provided an opportunity to the militants to consolidate themselves. The Taliban of Swat, who virtually rule the region, would certainly not be content with Shariah laws unless their demand for transforming the entire legal system is met. The Qazi courts they intend to set up across the Malakand Division may not be a mere change of nomenclature but probably a vehicle for imposing harsher punishments. The perception that the Shariah Regulation in Swat could lead to the Taliban seeking its replication across the country cannot be easily ignored. Both President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani have rightly observed that Parliament is an appropriate forum to debate and decide the fate of the Swat agreement but they may have to do a lot of explaining about delaying the process that has consequently emboldened the militants across the Malakand Division. Rather than pussyfooting around the issue for so long the best course for the government could have been to use the peace agreement to get a foothold in the troubled region and gradually establish the writ of the state.