For the third time now, an All Parties Conference has reinvented the square wheel. Talk with the Taliban, give peace a chance, it’s not their manifesto, it’s the drones! All the while turning the other cheek to neither acknowledging nor admitting that the agenda of the Taliban and their allied extremist groups is to impose their own conservative and closeted brand of Islam on the diversified and multi-cultural diaspora that has been the tradition of this land.

Once again, a vague set of resolutions has emerged, which evoke a sense of nostalgia and denial, more than the urgency and seriousness that is required. Navel-gazing over the lack of international recognition Pakistan has received for the role it has played in the Afghan war is a diversionary tactic to deflect the people’s attention from the fact that the Pakistani state has left the field wide open for all manner of anti-state extremists to consolidate their hold and wreak havoc.

Where the agenda of terrorists is to dismantle the Pakistani state, and impose a theocracy, what is the possible aim of the negotiations that are to be held with them? If Afghanistan is cited as a precedent for negotiating with the Taliban and their ilk, how do any of the parties present at the APC explain the fact that in Afghanistan the Taliban are negotiating for a share in government? Is the Pakistani government prepared to draw up another disastrous Swat agreement? The Taliban may be a good fit for Afghanistan, but for Pakistanis they are not.

The time spent on negotiations will only delay what ultimately has to be done: the state will have to take military action against extremist elements who obey neither its laws, nor accept its legitimacy and hold large tracts of land and entire populations hostage to their enforced agenda. Mian Nawaz and his government have the mandate; and if this APC demonstrated anything, it was that the other parties don’t want to have to deal with the headache. All confidence has been “reposed” in the Prime Minister, to do what he sees fit.

The disclaimer that this is the “last chance” for talks is a minor concession to leave room for a plan B, should talks be unsuccessful. Whether the TTP will take this warning in consideration depends very much on how serious it thinks the government is in following up this threat. And at the moment it is worrying that not a single member of the APC seems to have been prepared to acknowledge that if talks fail, Pakistan doesn’t have a plan.