HAVING found the authorities on the defensive after it had extracted a favourable peace deal from them through the intercession of the chief of Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi, Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has adopted a policy of self-assertion. The policy signifies a greater role for the TTP in running the affairs of the Swat valley than envisaged in the agreement. It even chose to extend the area of its sway and sent its militant forces into Buner, who stayed there for about 20 days, and also to Shangla. Both the TNSM and the TTP have been acting in clear violation of the peace deal on several counts, though at the same time TTP spokesman Muslim Khan maintains that his organisation is adhering to it while it is the government that is in breach. Sufi Muhammad's apparent helplessness to persuade the TTP to abide by the agreement could reflect, according to some analysts, his complicity since they believe that the TNSM is one with the TTP in the mission to spread their brand of Islam outside the confines of the valley into Pakistan and beyond. On Saturday, the TTP refused to let a military convoy of seven vehicles move towards the Qambar area of Mingora because Muslim Khan visualised that the motive behind the movement was to launch a military operation. He promptly warned the government against any such intention. According to one report, however, the convoy was allowed to proceed towards its destination after half an hour. If continued enforcement of the writ of the state is part of the deal the movement of troops anywhere in the country is beyond question. In fact, it is a cardinal factor in the existence of the state. Muslim Khan's statements that the deployment of troops in the area could not be permitted since it was against the agreement call for an immediate and unambiguous clarification from Sufi Muhammad, who should be held responsible for such views and warned that they were endangering the deal to which he is signatory. Muslim Khan's defiant posture raises the ugly prospect of armed action to which COAS General Ashfaq Kayani referred the other day. In the wider interests of the nation already facing multiple crises and both sides should do their best to avoid the situation getting out hand. That is only possible if all parties involved were to strictly adhere to the agreement. The apprehension is that this time round the military operation could be deadlier. In such an eventuality, therefore, it would be obligatory upon the armed forces to prevent innocent civilian casualties to occur.