It seems that the Pakistani state has abandoned its citizens to contend with drones from above and bombs and extremist militants on the ground. Where drone strikes killed 18 in the Bulandkhel area of Orakzai Agency, donkey-cart bombs killed eight more in the Mushti Mela area of the same Agency. A bomb in a market in Sibi killed 12 people while a landmine in Dera Bugti killed three security officials when it blew up their vehicle. Reports are being received that a senior ISI official has also been kidnapped from the capital. While the Foreign Office tries its best to placate local attention with chest-thumping protests over drone strikes delivered to the US envoy; the government and military continue their policy of protests over sovereignty in public and silent approval in private. Meanwhile, the populations in the affected areas, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, find no safety from either the local militants or the Predator planes overhead. The mass of bomb attacks in recent days has made clear that while the government, even if it is sincere in its desire to do so, cannot stop drone strikes that make a mockery of sovereignty, nor has it done anything to recover those vast swathes of territory where the Pakistani state is as unwelcome as foreign troops, where the laws of Pakistan are not acknowledged as applicable, where repeated peace deals and military action have failed time and again to bring peace.After the widely condemned attack on Malala Yousafzai, in which the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan detailed the full horror of their “twisted ideology”, as the COAS put it, the time has come to take a long hard look at our situation. Let us not pretend that the problem does not exist, as we have done before. And it seems the army is finally doing just that. With reports of an operation to take on the TTP filtering down, there is also the necessity to talk to the US and redirect the focus of their single-minded obsession from the Haqqanis to the TTP for the time being. It is essential that the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan act as an anvil once the military applies the hammer to militant havens in the border regions. All too easily would the targets escape into Afghanistan, only to fight another day and ruin more lives.The government must remember that its ultimate task is not survival, or even preparing for the next election, but ensuring the safety of the life and property of its citizens. That is the basic function of the state, and is supposed to be the reason why the USA has moved so far from its home ground. If the state is too busy politicking to pay attention to the violence in which the ordinary citizen lives, it should not wonder if its right to rule is questioned. The army and civilian government must suspend their mutual distrust of each other and both do what their taxpayers employ them to do, ie ensure the security and welfare of Pakistan, respectively.