Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has signed a controversial peace
deal that imposes Islamic law in the northwestern Malakand region.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan's lower house of parliament approved a resolution urging the president to back the pact between officials in North West Frontier Province and Islamic cleric and militant leader Sufi Mohammed.
The Taliban sympathizer agreed to end months of attacks against security forces in exchange for the imposition of Islamic law in Malakand, which includes the former resort area of Swat Valley.
The deal needed executive approval to go into effect.
Western nations, including Pakistan's key ally the United States, have sharply criticized the deal as capitulating to Islamic extremists.
Last week, Mohammed and his supporters complained that President Zardari was holding back on the deal and left the his so-called "peace camp" in the region in protest.
Some Sharia courts have already begun operating in Swat Valley. Most of the valley is under militant control. Thousands of people have fled and hundreds of schools have been destroyed since the Taliban sympathizers began their insurgency in 2007.