The post-election Pakistan is a place to watch. So much happening. So very much to do. The new governments at the centre and the provinces were driven to prepare and present the annual budgets within a few days of taking over. Subjected to sharp scrutiny by the opposition, there has been much of thrust and parry in the elected Assemblies. The new Finance Minister is hard put to raise revenues, lessen people’s misery and explore, at the same time, avenues for financial support to meet the pressing liabilities.Simultaneously, the central government has been struggling to address the electricity shortage issue with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself spear-heading the task to ensure a possible relief to the people and the industry, to some extent.To highlight another hot issue, besides these two crises, Pakistan has been hit by ferocious terrorism in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The suicide bomb blasts in Quetta killed more than a dozen college students and a score of security officials and citizens.On the same day, the Ziarat Residency, where Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah spent his last days, was bombed to ashes. A horrific attack in KPK followed this awful tragedy taking a toll of 40 lives, including military personnel and a member of the Provincial Assembly. Earlier, another lawmaker was gunned down. Further, two drone attacks took place during the last fortnight.Mention here may also be made of Imran Khan’s delayed oath-taking at the National Assembly and his first speech - politically appropriate as it was - on the floor of the house.In this column, however, I will be dealing with the unending terrorist attacks and the new governments’ resolve to address this difficult issue.The Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has demonstrated a firm resolve to find a solution to terrorist threats. He was quick to visit Quetta and has held a number of meetings to prepare the ground for the framing of a national security strategy. He has sought to practically shake up the law enforcement agencies and is working hard to refurbish the law and order machinery.There appears to be a general agreement amongst the leading political parties at the centre and KPK that a dialogue has to be started with the Taliban to arrive at some sort of a settlement. The general opinion is veering round to Imran’s approach to the issue. His point is that the Talibans’ terroristic activities is a reaction to military operations launched a decade or so ago in pursuance of the American policy. Drone attacks further provoke the angry tribesmen. Also, because of military action hundreds of thousands people living in Fata have been displaced, who are eking out distressed lives. They provide supporters and volunteers to the Taliban. The situation is a complicated one because of US strikes in and occupation of Afghanistan. Certain Afghan elements have crossed the border and have found safe havens in parts of Fata. They use Pakistani territory to launch attacks in Afghanistan. Similarly, terrorist groups from Pakistan have found refuge in Afghanistan. They too enter Pakistan and carry out terrorist activities. The USA and Nato have been accusing Pakistan of harbouring al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban militants. Amongst the terrorists are also to be found other foreign nationals, some of whom had participated in the jihad against the Soviets in the 80s.There is a school of thought in Pakistan, which considers the Taliban and other terrorists as enemies, who must be dealt with force. It is said that they do not accept democracy or the constitution and are bent upon imposing their own extremist brand of Islam in Pakistan. They kill innocent men, women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals. They aim at capturing the territory to impose their own system. They have to be fought and crushed.A good question raised by Imran and many Pakistanis is that the policy bequeathed by Quaid-i-Azam has been set aside with dire consequences. How can a country afford to use its military power to kill its own people - a people, who had more than once demonstrated their love for the land and had fought for national interests?Above all these vexing questions is the role and the mind of the military, which has suffered thousands of casualties and has remained engaged in fighting the Taliban. How to sort out this highly complex phenomenon? Linked to it is the thorny drones question?Rightly, the PML-N government has decided to hold wide-ranging consultations with all stakeholders, including the military.A multi-dimensional strategy has to be developed that not only brings about a ceasefire, but also provides funds and schemes for rehabilitation and development. This strategy must be placed before Parliament and after its approval entrusted to the cabinet for action. This task will not be easy because the issue has international dimensions. Much will depend on the way the endgame is played out in Afghanistan. Political maturity of a high order and clear-eyed statesmanship will be required to not only frame a well designed policy and a workable strategy, but also to set in place organisations and mechanisms to ensure expeditions and effective implementation. The KPK government will also have to play an important role in undertaking various tasks. Later, questions about the future political status of the tribal areas will have to be taken up. Should Fata be merged into KPK and if kept separate what kind of political arrangement would ensure participation, development, security and stability.A similar mega exercise will have to be undertaken in regard to Balochistan. Preliminary work needs to be done keeping in view the history and peculiar nature of the problems of the province. Its strategic location; the small, poor and scattered population; historic aspects of the integration of certain parts like Kalat; reasons for estrangement of certain Balochi elements; earlier military operations; enormous mineral resources; Gwadar Airport and the Chinese connection; the case of settlers, Hazaras; the future role of sardars; intelligence agencies’ infamous role in “disappearances” as also the need for a new public administrative system - these and many other facts and factors will have to be carefully considered to evolve Balochistan’s future political and administrative dispensation.On Thursday, the New York Times wrote about the opening of the Taliban’s new office in Doha: “American military commanders long ago concluded that the Afghan war could end only in a negotiated settlement, not a military victory.”If the mighty sole superpower reached this conclusion, quite some time ago, why is Pakistan continuing to pursue the military option that has so far failed to defeat the Taliban? How long would our brave army keep fighting their own people causing and suffering casualties of civilians and the military, in thousands? And how long will the people, at large, keep paying an extremely heavy price because of revenge attacks?Tailpiece: Why are the PML-N governments at the centre and in Punjab slow and shy of taking action against the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi after the Quetta carnage? It is time for them to wash off the charge of their being soft on these abominable militants.

nThe writer is an ex-federal secretary and ambassador, and a political and international relations analyst.