Despite the resolve shown by Sufi Muhammad not to leave Swat till he persuades local TTP leader Maulana Fazlullah to put down arms in return for the promised Nizam-e-Adl, there seems to be little hope for peace in the Valley. The NWFP government is committed to the five-point accord brokered with Sufi Muhammad who was released from jail at its intervention. The ANP which stood firmly for an end to militancy was a favourite target of the militants' attacks. By agreeing to negotiate with them it has put its political future at stake. It is now in its interests to make the deal a success. To ward off what has happened many times in the past CM Hoti has threatened to quit if anyone tried to block the agreement. The crucial move could not have been made without taking the federal government into confidence. The president and the prime minister are thus committed to it. The army which has been widely criticised for not being able to restore peace despite full use of force too is apparently willing to give talks a chance. In a terse statement the ISPR has stated its position: "The army works on the government's orders. The government has given it orders to hold fire. The army will not take any offensive action." The war weary people of Swat are jubilant over the peace move. They have lived under curfew for months and borne the brunt of militants' wrath and military operations all this time. Scores have died in the crossfire. Thousands of houses, businesses and fruit orchards have been destroyed in the fighting. Hundreds of thousands have been rendered homeless. A whole generation of young students have lost a full year of their educational career. They are all strong supporters of peace. There is opposition to talks from human rights activists within and outside the country. Amnesty International has expressed concern for the possible impact of the accord on women's rights to freedom of movement, work and education which the local TTP had severely curtailed. This is a genuine consideration. As it negotiates peace with Swat TTP, it remains to be seen if the government can ensure that the provisions in the constitution regarding basic rights are in no way compromised. A NATO spokesman has expressed fears that the accord would embolden militants in other places. Major US newspapers that include The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have also published critical reports. Some of the reservations being voiced could be removed if peace is restored and government's writ established all over Swat, ensuring that the area was not used to harbour or train the Taliban for action inside Afghanistan. The real danger to peace comes from Maulana Fazlullah and his supporters. For the TNSM leader enforcement of Sharia is confined to the introduction of Qazi courts in Malakand division. Fazlullah has a much wide agenda. Fazlullah has issued edicts like a warlord, established his own courts, set-up an armed militia and an FM radio station. He has thus established a state within a state. He has banned female education and over a hundred schools have been put to fire on his orders. Men have been whipped for shaving beards and executed on charges that under Pakistani laws would require moderate jail terms. Women have been prohibited from visiting shopping areas without husbands. Music and video shops have been destroyed and cultural activity banned. Artists have been forced to leave Swat. Attacks have been launched on the families of those siding with the government. Many have been killed, the latest being an ANP legislator from Dir. Relatives of expatriates working in the US have been kidnapped for hefty ransoms. Recently Fazlullah issued a list of opponents ordering them to present themselves before him or be ready to be eliminated. There are reports that militants from other areas in Pakistan as well as foreigners have taken shelter with him. This motley crowd of Arabs, Uzbeks and local militants has not gathered in Kabal and Matta to establish Qazi courts. There is little likelihood of Fazlullah and his armed militia surrendering arms and allowing the provincial government to re-establish police stations and check posts over an area which he rules as a mini Amir-ul-Momineen He is more likely to try to persuade his father-in-law to join him in the jihad. There are tendencies in Sufi Mohammad that strengthen the perception that instead of winning over Fazlullah he might get converted to the latter's views. Days before launching the peace move Sufi Muhammad gave an interview to the Hamburg based news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur. What he said was ominous. Democracy according to him is against Islam. So were elections. The right thing was Sharia which he would like the world to practice. With Sufi Muhammad acting as a negotiator, there is little hope for peace in Swat. E-mail: azizuddin@nation.com.pk