Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: A day after being set a deadline for the implementation of a controversial peace agreement with pro-Taliban militants in the North West Frontier Province, the provincial Chief Minister hotfooted it to Swat valley, his first visit to a region that has been virtually taken over by the militants.

Ameer Haider Hoti pledged in Swat that his government would make all efforts to implement the agreement with the Tehrik-i-Nifas-i-Sharia-Mohammadi for setting up Sharia courts by March 15, the deadline set on Sunday by the TNSM chief Sufi Mohammed.

The “indefinite truce” declared by the Swat Taliban, headed by Sufi Mohammed’s son-in-law Fazlullah, hangs by the implementation of this deal. The TNSM leader’s announcement of the deadline has caused anxiety that the lull could be short-lived. Also on Sunday, two paramilitary personnel were injured in an ambush and six others, including an officer, were kidnapped.

“It is my desire that we take steps to enforce the justice system and we will take practical steps before March 15,” Mr. Hoti said.