The news of the commencement of negotiations between the government and the Taliban inspires mostly scepticism, since it is unknown whether the campaign promises of “talks” are an albatross around the government's neck, or genuinely held convictions.

This move, if it has substance, highlights desperation -- not necessarily to do anything, but simply to show that something is being done. Whether or not it actually achieves something is another question entirely.

Even if the government feels that something can be achieved, the notion is a dangerous one at best, because it indicates naïve optimism about the nature of the threat, ignorance of past experiences and misdirected efforts to woo extremist militants, while actually conceding ground to them instead.

Add to this discomfiting confusion a media-savvy terrorist phenomena and a local politician on the verge of losing relevance, and you have the ideal conditions for optimistic news stories about “preliminary talks” and congratulatory sentences about the civilian and the military establishments being “on the same page”.

Meanwhile the success of the D.I Khan jailbreak is set to be repeated, according to news stories detailing the formidable training and backing provided to the Al-Aseer group by the larger factions of the Taliban.

As Maulana Fazal-ul-Rahman fights for space and the government claims a few days without violent incident as "benefits accrued", the Taliban continue to extract more time, space and influence from a docile and conciliatory centre.

The links established and the level of their credibility has been repeatedly impossible to ascertain in the aftermath of every such recent rumor. However, the government seems anxious to rely on the well-meaning intent of the militants and risks conceding more ground to an already empowered non-state actor.

The possibility of dialogue between the two exists, of that there is no doubt, particularly after the motion by the Allied forces to pull out of Afghanistan by 2014. The Afghan Taliban have interests to protect in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani Taliban as a result will devote their entire attention to gaining influence in Pakistan, seeing this as an opportunity to concentrate on one target only.

However, the government needs clearly ascertain whether it's goals are to force militants to accept the writ of the state, or whether it is simply wants talks for the sake of talks alone. To ensure actual peace, the government before attempting discussions, must first ensure that the Taliban believe that the state's will in enforcing it's writ is unshakeable. At the moment, the government is pushing for talks, but the militants are not. Just goes to show who's really in charge.