NOTWITHSTANDING the repeated assertion of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammad that Baitullah Mehsud is not dead but sick, the decision to pass on the mantle of the head of the TTP to Hakimullah Mehsud gives away the truth that he is no more. Besides, had Baitullah been alive, it is doubtful whether his father-in-law and brother-in-law would have been arrested on the charge of being moles, who were responsible for passing on the intelligence that led to the drone attack of August 5. They and their family were later reportedly killed. There is also enough evidence to support the view that following the death of Baitullah, rival commanders under him had cast their covetous glances on his seat and, most probably, fought between themselves. Faqir Mohammad had gone public only the other day with the claim of being the new chief and nominated Muslim Khan of Swat as the spokesman. Now that the names of both have been withdrawn and top commanders seemed to have endorsed Hakimullah as the leader and Tariq Azam as the spokesman, the phase of infighting is apparently over. However, it cannot be denied that the successful military operation in Malakand Division, the removal of a ruthless leader like Baitullah from the scene and the arrest of some of his leading lieutenants, have left the militant organisation in disarray and certainly put it on the back foot, at least for the time being. But it would be sheer self-deception to believe that decisive victory is round the corner; only a battle has been won and the war, with its multidimensional implications, needs much greater grit and determination to win. The victory needs to be scored not only on the battlefield but also in the minds of men, which unfortunately the scourge of militancy and extremism has taken hold of. For the latter task, the leadership has to conceive a well-thought-out strategy of re-educating the people about the true message of Islam and put it into effect meticulously. Side by side, Pakistan's priority must be to consolidate the gains it has made in this war. It ought not to lose sight of the fact that though the TTP's feared leader is dead, its paraphernalia is still intact. It has the capacity to reorganise and re-emerge with force, especially as it claims to fight in the name of religion. However, some analysts have expressed the view that while Baitullah was focusing only on Pakistan and with a vengeance, Hakimullah might devote an equal amount of energy to Afghanistan to help the resistance put an end to the foreign occupation. This prospect, according to these observers, is causing understandable apprehensions and unease among the Americans. Nevertheless, it would be idle to suggest that the danger of terrorist acts in Pakistan has vanished. Therefore, it must keep its powder dry.