http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601091&sid=aHPK0NVAcQug&refer=india Taliban Pledge Peace as Pakistan Approves Islamic Law By Khalid Qayum and Farhan Sharif April 14 (Bloomberg) -- A pro-Taliban group pledged peace in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley after President Asif Ali Zardari approved Islamic law in the area under an accord the U.S. says undermines the fight against terrorism in the region. “We guarantee peace, we guarantee that the Taliban will accept the writ of the government,” Rizwanullah Farooq, the son of pro-Taliban leader Sufi Muhammad, said in a phone interview from Swat today. “We got what we wanted.” Zardari approved the so-called Nizam-i-Adal, or Justice System, regulation last night hours after lawmakers approved a resolution to introduce Islamic law in Swat. Under a peace accord reached in February, the government accepted the demand of pro-Taliban militants for Islamic law in return for ending two years of fighting in the valley. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, has said he is “troubled” by the accord in Swat, where militants have burned schools, banned education for girls and beheaded government officials. President Barack Obama said last month the U.S. will increase aid to Pakistan in exchange for security forces there cracking down on terrorists in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. “I have questions about handing over a large division of the province to non-state actors,” said Sherry Rehman, former information minister and a lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. “Now who will guarantee freedom and basic human rights there?” Party Opposes Law Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a Karachi-based party, which is part of the ruling coalition, didn’t vote in favor of Islamic law yesterday and walked out of the Parliament house in protest. The group has 25 positions in the 342-seat lower house. Taliban militants, led by Maulana Fazlullah, have fought the army to replace government rule with Islamic law in Swat, a formerly popular tourist valley northwest of the capital, Islamabad. Fazlullah is the son-in-law of Sufi Muhammad, who negotiated the February peace accord. The Taliban tightened their control of the region after a truce collapsed last July. The Qazi, or Islamic judge, “will issue all decrees,” Farooq said today. The Taliban have pledged to accept the orders of the Qazi, he said. The regulation provides for Islamic law in Swat courts. Prime Minister Endorses Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani yesterday endorsed the accord in Pakistan’s Parliament. Fighters from Swat earlier this month advanced into the adjoining district of Buner, where they are also demanding Islamic law. The move brought the Taliban to within 110 kilometers (70 miles) of Islamabad. Sufi Muhammad’s Tehrik-e-Nifaaz Shariat Muhammadi last week threatened to withdraw from the February accord to protest delays by Zardari in approving the regulation. Pakistan’s government says it is doing all it can to combat militants and is pursuing a strategy of selective military action, coupled with political and economic development programs, to try to persuade tribal leaders to expel foreign fighters sheltering along the border with Afghanistan. U.S. conditions on aid will fail to generate the desired goodwill and results in Pakistan, Gilani told visiting U.S. Senator John Kerry in Islamabad yesterday, according to the state-controlled Associated Press of Pakistan. U.S. Policy Review After a review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama said March 27 his administration will increase aid to Pakistan in exchange for a crackdown against terrorists. He said he will back legislation in Congress that would raise aid to $1.5 billion annually for Pakistan for five years. Gilani responded by saying Pakistan has “already done enough” to fight al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. “We have to go for three Ds -- dialogue, development and deterrence,” he said March 31. “How can you win the hearts and minds of the people with a military solution only?” At least 4,000 people have been killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan in the past two years with pro-Taliban groups blamed for many of the bombings. Taliban militants have also stepped up their insurgency in Afghanistan where civilian casualties last year were the highest recorded since the movement was ousted in 2001. Is Pakistan still a US ally fighting the war on terror AGAINST the Taliban?