DESPITE the NWFP government having carried out its obligations under the Swat accord, peace hangs by a thread in Malakand Division, thanks to the failure on the part of the TTP to fulfill its promises. In glaring violation of the agreement, its activists have yet not laid down their arms, despite repeated reminders by the administration. They also hinder the security forces from establishing the writ of the state. For instance, a military convoy was stopped from entering Mingora on Saturday. Incidents of lawlessness have consequently increased all over Malakand Agency, In Lower Dir, people continue to be kidnapped for ransom and law enforcement personnel attacked. Last month five persons, including the district police chief and a former Nazim, were gunned down by criminals. On Saturday, twelve children were killed in a bomb blast in a village. On Sunday, an FC convoy was attacked, with four paramilitary soldiers wounded, including an officer. This led to an operation by the security forces resulting in the killing of more than two dozen militants, including a Taliban commander. The TNSM has consequently called off peace talks. The militants continue to violate the agreement in other parts of the Malakand Agency also. There is a perception that Maulana Sufi Mohammad is either unwilling to fulfil his pledges or is not being allowed to do so by the hawkish elements in the TTP. In Swat, seven trucks carrying chemical fertilizer, that can be used to make bombs, were looted. There are reports of armed militants moving towards Kalam. They have already set up checkposts in Bahrain. Despite a number of militants having left Buner, the population in the district continues to live under terror. Four persons who were listening to music were subjected to humiliation, with their heads and moustaches shaved by the militants. While the government is keen to abide by the Swat agreement, the TTP leaders are issuing threats of taking over the provincial capital and finally turning Pakistan into another Afghanistan. The militants have to realize that Pakistani people are deeply committed to defending democracy, for which they have made immense sacrifices. A realization is fast growing in the country that what the militants are challenging are the very ideas that form the basis of Pakistan. There is a need on the part of the TNSM and TTP to avoid the path that leads to confrontation and bloodshed. A free society allows all interest groups and political parties to express their views in order to gather support for them. Elections provide an equal opportunity to them to enter the Parliament where national policies are formulated. What is not allowed, however, is recourse to the use of force for the implementation of one's programme. Anyone attempting to do that is liable to be confronted by the collective will of the people of Pakistan.