THE military leadership's decision to back the government efforts for a national consensus on counterinsurgency strategy is indeed welcome. The support was extended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, which met at the JCSC Headquarters on Saturday to discuss matters related to internal and external security. General Tariq Majid who presided over the meeting said the completion of political transition was a positive development as it gave the government strength required to meet the challenges facing Pakistan. The meeting took place against the backdrop of the security briefing by the military to a joint session of Parliament aimed at taking into confidence the elected representatives on the growing militancy in the restive tribal region and its fallout on the settled areas of the country. Reservations expressed by some major political parties about the in-camera briefings can minimize the chances of the parliamentary session evolving a consensus on terrorism. The argument that crushing militancy with military might will strengthen the American agenda to destabilize Pakistan cannot be rejected outright keeping in view stepped-up attacks in the tribal areas by unmanned US Predators flown from Afghanistan. Secretary of State Rice's observation that the serious terrorism problem facing Pakistan can be a direct threat to the United States needs elaboration. She should not ignore that a surge in crossborder strikes is creating problems for the democratic dispensation in mobilising public opinion for fighting the resurgent Taliban. But at the same time the political forces opposing counterinsurgency efforts merely for their differences with the government need to keep in mind that they will be seen as indirectly supporting the militants who are trying to establish their authority at the country's expense. This approach will not even be appreciated by the people of the tribal areas who traded fire with Taliban and demolished their houses on Saturday following a suicide bombing in the Orakzai agency that left 80 dead and more than 100 others injured from among a jirga held on Friday to form a lashkar against Taliban. It clearly signals the tribesmen's resentment against those responsible for exposing the tribal areas to crossborder attacks. General Majid described the people's rising against militants as a positive development. It is about time that political parties across the spectrum devise an effective counterinsurgency strategy and extend support to the law abiding tribesmen now prepared to fight the elements carrying out terror strikes in the region and outside. There is a need to understand that any further delay in evolving a consensus on meeting the formidable challenges facing the country will turn the situation even more grave.