At long last, the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation has been signed by the president, and the NWFP governor has acted at once to promulgate it, and thus let the Swat Peace Accord, between the ANP-led provincial government and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or rather its component, the Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi, be implemented. That happened while Pakistan was being visited by the sponsor in Congress of the enhancement of US aid to Pakistan, since the timing of the implementation was purely in the hands of the president, and while he set a new precedent by referring the Regulation to Parliament, even though he didn't have to, it is a fairly logical conclusion that President Asif Zardari wanted the international community, well, the USA, to know that he promulgated the Regulation under the pressure of Parliament. His need to distance himself from the Regulation was probably explained by the unfavourable reaction of the Obama Administration, which seemed to feel that the Regulation meant that human rights would now be violated in Swat. This comes soon after President Obama has said that the USA was not at war with Islam. Yet it sees the implementation of the Shariat anywhere as a trampling of human rights, of which it claims to be a guarantor. The perception that Islam is in conflict with rights gives the lie to the Muslim scholars who claim that the West has drawn on the Islamic tradition for its concept of individual rights. This is not entirely accurate, for the West has derived its concept of rights from its concepts of individualism, and of man as the measure of all things. The Islamic concept of rights as a sort of carbon copy of the Western model is derived from the modernist project, which seeks to show that Islam is as compatible with modernism and all it stands for as any other religion, such as Christianity and Judaism. However, Islam, unlike the other two Abrahamic faiths, has so far resisted efforts to make it a handmaid of capitalism, and thus of modernism. In this worldview, the implementation of customary law, given the name of Shariat, would not be cause of concern. However, the USA is exercised about it, and very negatively. Another party which has expressed a negative reaction has been the Afghan government. Since the purpose of implementing Shariat in Swat is to help fight the US occupation of Afghanistan, the government the USA has installed can be expected to dislike the move, especially since the Americans did not allow it to give its constitution as many Islamic provisions as the Pakistani. The imposition of Shariat in Swat may cause similar demands in Afghanistan, consequently causing the Kabul government trouble. The great thing about the Taliban was that they restored the rule of law, even though the law was customary law, also named Shariat. The Afghans are a Muslim people, who have been Muslim so long that the Shariat has become their customary law. So when a foreigner tries to implement his own law, as invaders always do as a sign of conquest, he not only violates the customary law, but the Shariat itself. In Swat, the Wali, installed by the British in 1936, tried to reinforce the local confusion by having his courts implement the local customary law, under the name of Shariat. That is what was abolished when the state was, along with other states, merged into West Pakistan, and what has been restored now. Yet the name alone has raised spectres of the Shariat being demanded in the rest of the country. There are a number of factors working against this. First, and perhaps most important, there was no movement for the replication of the original Swat model in the rest of the country. It was probably not as much of an improvement as its supporters expect it to be, and the demand for its extension deserve to be allowed to emerge, rather than, as now, the attempt to crush them before they arise. Indeed, the existence of the fears are themselves a condemnation of the existing justice system, a tacit acknowledgement that the present justice system is both expensive and involves long and frequent delays. The restoration of the chief justice and his colleagues as a result of the lawyers' movement, should raise hopes in that direction, without introducing a different legal system. The introduction of Shariat also makes a mockery of the liberal credentials of the PPP and ANP, neither of which managed to keep out of the affair as did the MQM. Both parties have leaderships which have worked hard to make the USA believe in them. However, going by past precedent, the USA is unlikely to be very forgiving where the Shariat is concerned, and is not going to listen to any litanies of lives saved, which is the sole justification offered in favour of the Swat deal. Both the PPP and the ANP are going to find themselves reclassified, unfavourably, as parties, in categories they do not recognise. The USA has got one thing right, at least, and it is that the Taliban regard Swat as a victory. Therefore, the USA regards it as a defeat, not as a model to be followed, which is being proffered by Islamabad at the moment. Perhaps the USA is so concerned because the whole episode exposed the weakness of the Pakistani state, especially its military arm. The state had conducted a prolonged operation there, which did not end in victory but in the acceptance of the insurgents' demands. The danger is not that this analysis needs refining, as that the local militants will only abandon it after much more bloodshed, this time in the heartland. The Pakistani state will have reason to regret its expensive and prolonged way of meting out justice, one of the basic duties of the state. The present state's officials are not primarily to blame, having only inherited the situation. But if the Swat agreement represents a failure of the Pakistani state, it will be recorded that it foundered on the provision of justice. The state is still primarily concerned with American aid, and the rigmarole of presenting the Regulation to Parliament, was followed to convince the USA that the government was functioning in difficult conditions. Thus the bringing of peace to Malakand Division was not the purpose so much as ensuring the flow of dollars.