WHILE there are hopeful signs that the Swat peace deal would bear fruit and Maulana Fazlullah would concur with its clauses, reactions from the US are likely to complicate matters. Maulana Sufi Muhammad, Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi chief, who had concluded the agreement with the government early this week, met Maulana Fazlullah, head of the Tehrik-i-Taliban of Swat. There are reports of progress in the talks, with the condition that the TTP fighters would lay down their arms if nizam-i-adl were imposed. The details of the peace deal are not yet public knowledge, but the common understanding is that laying down the arms is a condition precedent to the enforcement of the nizam-i-adl. In this context, the remark of Prime Minister Gilani that it was linked to peace is quite relevant. Hopefully, the ticklish problem would be resolved in the coming days. However, a major roadblock in the way of implementing the accord is the US attitude, with Obama's special envoy Richard Holbrooke terming it as "surrender" and adding that the US was "troubled and confused" because "it is not an encouraging trend". The Americans have strong reservations about such agreements since they suspect that the militants would get respite enough from the fighting to regroup, reequip, gather more recruits around them and look for an occasion to restart their hostile activities. Holbrooke's call to President Zardari should, therefore, be seen with that apprehension in mind. Mr Zardari's reaction that the deal was an "interim arrangement" (as quoted by the special envoy to CNN) is quite odd and, indeed, unfortunate, considering that previous peace accords had failed, for one thing, on account of the authorities dillydallying on strictly adhering to its clauses. And the word "interim" would certainly sow the seeds of doubts in the minds of the other party and make the prospects of the peace holding rather bleak. The success of this deal would also avoid internal destabilisation as ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, who maintained that both Mr Zardari and COAS General Kayani were on board, reaffirmed that his party would stand by it and if the government did not abide by it, its Ministers would quit the coalition. The US must realise that the sole recourse to force would not bear fruit and the logic put forward by Defence Secretary Gates that if there was reconciliation in Afghanistan on government terms and the militants there were willing to stop fighting "we would be open to that" should apply to Pakistan as well. Attempt at sabotaging the deal would have serious consequences for all concerned.