COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has urged the armed forces to keep civilian damage to the minimum in the ongoing fight against militancy. While it is criminal to disregard the sanctity of civilian life, the General should realise that the operation he is talking about is itself totally unjustified. We should instead be engaging the disaffected class of our citizenry in talks to ensure that peace prevails in the region. Meanwhile, Corp Commander Peshawar Lt General Khalid Rabbani has given feelers that the army is ready to go into North Waziristan although without mentioning when. Any more military forays into the tribal areas would be counterproductive, especially given the prevailing resentment against drone attacks that the people view are carried out with the government’s consent. The country can hardly afford the backlash or the new wave of internally displaced persons for that matter. These are our own tribesmen, they must be brought back into the fold, but is the point of the gun the right way to do it? Also, how long can the army keep fighting? Wisdom demands that a negotiated settlement be given precedence over the use of force.