Despite a seemingly unanimous and across the board appreciation for an improved security situation, terrorist attacks are still a frighteningly regular phenomenon in the country. 52 people were killed and over 100 others wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a packed-to-capacity courtyard of the Shah Noorani shrine in a remote mountainous region of Khuzdar district on Saturday evening – a few weeks after armed militants stormed a police training academy in Quetta, killing 61.

It is evident that the narrative that feeds us tales of victory over the militants is exaggerated at best, and simply false at worst.

It may be true in the operative sense; militant strongholds have been cleared from tribal regions and tracts of land that were under the sole dominion of these groups before have been wrested back by the military. Yet in no way does it mean that the struggle against religious extremism is over. Unfortunately, this is exactly how the state – government and military – wishes to view it, and the result is the complacency we witness and its terrible consequences.

The most recent Quetta attack should have forced a radical rethink of government policy, but the government after announcing the now infamously useless ‘investigative commission’ forgot about the matter. The military did the same after handing out medals to the fallen. No one talked about the terrorist resurgence, no one talked about the extent of the threat, no one talked about a fight back. For doing so would’ve required a rejection of the victory narrative, and the proverbial reversal of the many gratuitous pats on the back the establishment received.

The sheer bullishness with which security establishment and the Balochistan government denied the presence of Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in Pakistan now seems unfathomably foolish in retrospect. The Quetta attack had connections with ISIS, while Shah Noorani shrine attack has been claimed by the ultra-Sunni group. Pakistan had already faced an extensive campaign of sectarian violence – one of the prime agendas of the group – yet we chose to ignore the possibility of ISIS operating in Pakistan simply because Iraq and Syria were too far away.

The signs were there; pamphlets in Peshawar, recruiters in Lahore, yet ISIS was always treated as ‘someone else’s problem’. This complacency has come to haunt us again and shows us that none of us – not the army not the state – can rest on their laurels. Terrorism, sectarianism, and extremism are still monstrous problems in Pakistan, and the battle is far from over. It is time the state treats it as such.