AMID reports of the militants becoming active once again, a new operation against them seems to be in the offing. In his meeting with General Kayani, President Musharraf who is keen to prove that he could be more useful to Washington than the elected government called for combating terrorism and extremism with "full force and all available resources." A more cautious General Kayani has however said the army would abide by the government's decision. Meanwhile Interior Advisor Rehman Malik has assured that any possible operation would be conducted by the civilian agencies only rather than the army, which will only provide a back-up support in case of need. Operations in Fata would be undertaken by the FC under the Governor's supervision and those in Swat and settled districts by police, overseen by the Chief Minister. The objective would be to establish the writ of the state. While people all over Pakistan had heaved a sigh of relief when the new government's policy of talks with the militants paid off leading to an end to suicide attacks, the law and order situation started gradually deteriorating. In South Waziristan, 22 members of a peace committee of the Bhittani tribe were kidnapped and executed reportedly by Baitullah Mehsud's men. In Khyber Agency another eruption of infighting between Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansar-ul-Islam has claimed as many as 55 lives during the last seven days. In Kurrum Agency communal attacks have led to the killing of over 700 people over the last few months. This has led to protests in the federal capital and a number of other cities. In Swat too there has been a resurgence of the militant activity during the last few weeks. A girl's school has been torched, a ski resort burnt down and police checkposts attacked. Activities of the sort have caused suffering to the common people and there are reports of serious food shortages and largescale displacement of population in areas where fighting between armed groups has gone on. That girls' schools have been burnt and video shops attacked in towns where moderate parties have won the elections with a thumping majority indicates that a mini-minority wants to force its point of view on the majority. Unless the government establishes the writ of the state, the incidents would promote an image of Pakistan being a soft state. There is however a need to ensure that there is no abrupt change in policy under US pressure. Priority has to be given to national interest which demands a holistic and multi-pronged policy the government has pursued after coming to power. Recourse to force has to be the last and not the first option and it has to be minimum. While dealing with militancy the government has to tread with extreme caution.