PUTTING aside for a moment the oft-repeated question of whose war it really is, lets turn to the affects of the war on terror on our psyche. Even a stroll on the street shows the distress writ large on citizens faces. It is as if some sinister monster has struck terror into their hearts and minds. After the attack on the International Islamic University Islamabad, this fear seems to be getting the better of us. Initially, the panic was so intense that we could not help but shut down education centres throughout the country. The nation is going through a real bad patch but should we allow fear to sway us hither and thither? Does that mean the government would soon be asking the general public not to venture out of their homes, not even for jobs out of fear of some attack? This would amount to playing into the hands of the enemy. It also transpires that the army has launched the South Waziristan offensive without considering the fallout: the spooks and troublemakers would disperse all around, unleashing a new wave of attacks. Rather than bailing the nation out of the crisis, this approach can make things worse. Granted, the army has an upper hand in the ongoing face-off with the militants in South Waziristan. But, despite all that, it is clear that the security establishment is lacking an intelligence mechanism strong enough to forestall mass-casualty attacks in the urban centres. Hence, the option of a nationwide closure of the academia. Given this backdrop, some steps are in order. After all, the parents worry eating their hearts out needs to be taken into account. Already, a minister in the Punjab Assembly told the House that schools and universities in the province run the risk of becoming targets owing to poor policing. So rather than showing cowardice and asking the students to stay away from schools and colleges, the state must provide them with the security and motivation they need to lead the nation forward.