The agreement between the NWFP's ANP-led government and the Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi is not just about the legal system of Malakand Division, or even about bringing peace to a troubled district, that of Swat, but it is more about the history of the area, and how the past continues to cast long shadows into the present. It is also about the opinion of the people of the NWFP about the quality of Pakistani justice, and how it is to be improved. The history of the area includes the establishment in Swat and Chitral of the last states in British India, under the Wali and the Mihtar, respectively, in the 1930s. As a result, the district got its own sessions court, which the Miangul, or Wali, of Swat, chose to name a Qazi court, and which he declared implemented Sharia. However, it enforced the law of the British, with the normal admixture of Muslim personal law in personal matters, such as marriage, inheritance, and the liabilities of parenthood. The states stood abolished by the creation of West Pakistan in 1956, into which they were merged, and they were not restored by the abolition of One Unit, but continued to form civil divisions within the new provinces. Swat being just a district of NWFP, judicially it came under a district and sessions judge, and the next appellate authority was the Peshawar High Court. This apparently did not represent an improvement, got Maulana Sufi Nek Muhammad then in 1990 raised the issue of reintroducing the Wali's system. Maulana Sufi Nek Muhammad founded the TNSM and fought what was nothing less than a war in the 1990s under the second Benazir government. Then too an enabling Act was passed, but the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation was not enforced. That is the root of the present distrust of the law being enforced, because the parties are the same, the PPP and the TNSM. The ANP thus finds itself in a position it does not want to be in, that of the political force that represents religious conservatism, not after it has expended so much effort on appearing to be a standard-bearer of enlightened moderation. Meanwhile, 9/11 came, and the TNSM was in favour of the Taliban and against the Americans. They went over to Afghanistan, led by Maulana Sufi Nek Muhammad, who ended up doing time in Afghan prison, but when he returned, he joined the Taliban, and raised a revolt in Swat for the enforcement of Shariah, or in fact the custom-based law of the old Wali's time. This revolt saw again the involvement of the military, and was the focus of Pakistani military operations. This revolt has apparently succeeded, for the provincial government has sought an end to the military operation in the Swat valley by accepting the militants' demands. This is actually a very bad reflection on the military. This appears to mean that, after nearly a year and a half of operations, the military has been unable to restore the writ of the state, forcing the government into an agreement with people who had burnt down girls' schools. The military might be good at claiming what does not exist, such as its claim that 1971 was a political, not a military, defeat, widely accepted by many civilian members of society, and it will certainly claim Swat as yet another victory, or else a needless defeat inflicted by civilian politicians. But military claims aside, the Pentagon too will see Swat as a defeat for the military, and thus will help the Obama Administration to see Pakistan as a conduit, but not its military as an assistant in the War On Terror. This does not take into account the wider implications of the agreement, which condemn the justice system as it appears in Pakistan as clunky, full of delays and unlikely to deliver justice. The Shariah does represent an improvement over the twin Procedure Codes, Civil and Criminal, that represent the highest British legal achievement of the Raj, but not if just its definitions of crimes, and its punishments, are adopted. The Shariah, not just Muslim personal law, but the civil and criminal codes governing all, was the law of the land under the Mughals, and was replaced by the British not because their law was superior, but as a symbol that they had arrived. When Pakistan achieved independence, the movement had been led by lawyers, to the extent that both Founding Fathers, Allama Iqbal and the Quaid-i-Azam, were both barristers, the latter one of the most successful to have practiced in British India. It was perhaps inevitable for the legal system to be a continuity, as it was. If one part of the country gets a reformed system, which shows itself as superior, can the rest of the country be far behind? It can. The FCR have been implemented in the tribal areas alone, but because they provide relatively quick justice, some have wished that they be implemented in the settled areas. There is little sign of that happening. In the same way, there is little chance of what is happening in one civil division of the NWFP being replicated in the country, or even in the province. However, there appears to be so much fear of the Shariah, that this agreement has drawn criticism from both the USA and NATO, which both have forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. The real basis of their criticism appears to be the concept that the Shariah can provide anything superior to the Western legal system. However, it has to be faced that the Western legal system is basically meant for lawyers and judges, not litigants, as opposed to the Islamic. However, in Swat, what happens if the so-called Shariah does not deliver the swift justice it should? Will Islam get the blame or the Wali? That is a separate issue which Maulana Sufi Nek Muhammad, whose son-in-law, Maulana Fazlullah, has an FM radio station of his own, will probably not have to answer, but if he does, will probably have no answer for. But this is a sign that the country is returning to a conservatism that will make the Americans unhappy. Also, it provides an alternative that at present anti-Americanism does not have.