THERE were expressions of joy across Swat where people distributed sweets to celebrate the signing of a peace agreement on Monday between the NWFP government and the Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi. It was after a very long time that the valley remained calm as militants and troops did not attack each other. Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti appeared euphoric when he announced a sharia-based judicial system for Malakand and Kohistan and promised to reciprocate a 10-day ceasefire by militants with a ceasefire for good. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also expressed the hope that the deal would restore peace in the region. It will however be difficult to say how things will shape up in the days to come. The perception that the peace deal stands chances of falling apart, because of President Asif Zardari's refusal to sign the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation until the restoration of peace in Swat, can be misplaced. But at the same time it could be interpreted as an attempt to allay the fears of the Western countries and deflect criticism against the enforcement of religious laws in Swat. This need for exercising restraint is understandable, as the Western media has already started raising a hue and cry over the agreement signed between the provincial government and the militants. One of the American television channels went to the extent of describing the deal as capitulation to the elements challenging the writ of the state. Even if one is not to doubt the TNSM leadership's sincerity about restoring peace in Swat, the government has to be cautious about other groups engaged in militancy in the past. If Maulana Fazlullah and his followers, who had been involved in burning video shops and attacking girl schools and government buildings, could now be made to lay down arms, then there still remains a network of the elements who would want to continue jihad for the enforcement of Shariah in the rest of the country. Then there also is the possibility of the presence of Indian agents who had been fighting the security forces in the guise of Taliban to take revenge for the Pakistan Army's alleged support to the insurgency in Held Kashmir. Last but not the least there have been reports of the drug traffickers operating in the region who might still try to disrupt peace to carry out their shady business. But a lot now depends on the TNSM and the Tehrik-i-Taliban's local chapter to do their best to put an end to violence and make sure that peace returns to the restive region sooner rather than later. It is only after the civil administration is allowed to start its normal functioning that the government would be able to withdraw the security forces from the valley. It bears repeating that the Army's prolonged presence in Swat is not good for its own image.