INTERIOR Minister Rehman Malik, on his visit to Lahore on Sunday, referred to the roots of the Punjabi Taliban as lying in Balochistan and FATA. He failed to connect the situation in Balochistan with that in FATA, but clearly to some extent one common trait is the marginalisation of the people in both these areas by the state over the decades. It is unfortunate that the government is totally unable or unwilling to see the writing on the wall regarding the growth of terrorism and extremism in Pakistan. Had they been less blinded by US lures, they would realise that one of the major causes of post-9/11 terrorism in Pakistan has been the US policies in this region - which are increasingly revealing their anti-Muslim character. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, these policies have been and continue to be directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Muslims - through military actions including the drone attacks. In addition, our detractors like India have always sought to exploit political conflicts in Pakistan seeking to turn them into violent conflicts. Indias signature on many acts of terrorism post-9/11 has been referred to by the Pakistani state and the Indo-US strategic partnership has allowed India greater access into Afghanistan and thereby into Pakistan. Before 9/11, Pakistan had been suffering from sectarian violence and terrorism but this had been abating, and certain extremist groups had been banned by the government, when the New York City terrorism happened. The problem of sectarian terrorism had also been aggravated by the proxy wars being fought on Pakistani soil by external powers. The question, though, for us is why in all instances, Pakistani citizens are vulnerable to being recruited as terrorists? Here one needs to seriously examine the lack of the writ of the state in the outlying areas of the Pakistani state, including no assertion of law and order. In addition, there is the lack of development in these areas since the states presence is miniscule and ineffective. The people of these areas are marginalised and have no hope for a better future. Education is not provided for by the state so the madrassahs seek to fill this vital gap with the results that we have seen. All in all, poverty, state neglect, non-access to their own resources and political non-representation make our people vulnerable to the forces of extremism and terrorism while the US provides the political causation through its killing of innocent Muslim citizens and its brazen support for Israeli state terrorism. The policies of cooperation by the rulers of Pakistan with this US agenda acts as the catalyst and more innocent Pakistanis die in the process.