“The only cure for grief is action.”

–G. H. Lewes

The Pakistani nation is facing a serious dilemma in its effort in the war against terrorism and extremism. While the All Parties Conference authorized the government to deal with this twin menace according to the situation and strongly recommended that the first option that should be considered is negotiations between the federal government and the militants. However, before the process could begin, the Tehreek-i-Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack that killed senior military commanders jolting the prospect of a peaceful solution to the problem.

Hardly had the Pakistani nation recovered from this shocking event when a double suicide attack in a Christian Church killed more than eighty innocent people and seriously injured more than hundred throwing a spanner in the prospects of negotiations with the miscreants who have no faith in peaceful negotiations. These merchants of misery and death are not likely to understand the mechanism of peace that is being pursued in its present form by the government.

The political leadership remains divided on this issue and the mindset of the people remains at best confused on the objectives of the militants and that of the government. While there is no doubt that the prospect of peace should be pursued through political means yet it does not mean that the militants should be allowed to dictate terms to the federal government. This creates an impression as if the government is trying to negotiate with these mercenaries from a position of weakness.

Pakistan at present has a commander in chief of its armed forces that represents a martial tribe and the credentials of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani as a blue blooded rajput will come under a scanner in case he fails to effectively deal and eliminate this menace once and for all. The general is heading an army of jawans and officers whose commitment with the motherland is beyond any doubt and as a unit they can be extremely effective.

Already questions have been asked as to why the army is playing a waiting game after sustaining such great losses both in men and material and what stops them to inflict a fatal blow on these subversive elements. In case there is a lack of resources one is sure that the people of this country would be more than willing to contribute their share so that there is no scarcity of instruments required by the Pakistani army to crush the militants. Sadly the Americans have refused to provide equipment that could have eliminated this menace long ago.

The west continues to pay lip service. However, this does not mean that this carnage should continue due to lack of resources and therefore urgent attention must be paid to this problem by the government. As far as political leadership is concerned they should rally behind the armed forces and provide them with the support that is essential to defeat these extremist elements. Another Rajput Rana Shamim Ahmed Khan who is now a member of the national assembly could provide the political wisdom and strategy that is required by the PML-N government to tackle this cancerous problem.

You can hear politicians talking in different languages: the inexperienced Imran Khan has even gone to the extent of describing the church tragedy as a conspiracy hatched by the enemies of this country. This means that the leader of PTI continues to soft pedal the issue and has not come out forcefully enough to condemn Tehreek-i-Taliban for committing murderous acts. Leaders of Jamat-i-Islami and JUI continues to double-talk: they condemn as well as talk of appeasing these elements. Similarly PPP has also failed to condemn these acts in a befitting manner. The Prime Minister while condemning these acts of the Taliban failed to spell out the strategy his government intends to follow after these two murderous attacks committed by the extremists. The militants would only be correct to assess that by killing people they could exert more pressure on the federal government and therefore could be in a position to bargain on better terms and conditions in case they sit across a negotiating table. It is expected that the government will not blink first and will initiate certain visible actions which will not only deter the militants but also teach them a lesson that negotiations and acts of terrorism cannot go together. The government of Pakistan, which presently has unprecedented political support must crush terrorists with all it strength and clarity of purpose.

The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist.