WHILE halting the military operation in the tribal areas during the month of Ramazan is welcome, it raises the hope that the government would utilise the peace hiatus to devise a strategy that makes the temporary suspension permanent. There should be little doubt in official circles' minds that an aggressive approach against our own citizens would prove counterproductive. And the best course to follow in the face of roused sentiments is persuasion with the logic of a peace dividend, for instance, proffering firm assurances of security and development in the economic and social spheres. Announcing the cessation of the military operation at Lahore on Saturday, Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik claimed that 23,000 persons who had left their hearth and home had returned. Surely, it should be easier for the authorities to work with these once uprooted people to help bring round fellow tribesmen to jump on the peace bandwagon. It is unfortunate that peace overtures in the past have never been followed through, and attempts at implementing peace accords entered into with the tribesmen have been half-hearted and were scuttled to please the US. The argument that the other side does not know the language of peace, mainly employed by Washington's hawks, is not, therefore, based on evidence and is obviously, puerile. One would have wished that while declaring the Ramazan halt, Mr Malik had eschewed threatening words like if militants "fire a single bullet we will respond with 10". He should have offered an olive branch, instead. There appears to be some misunderstanding in Mr Malik's mind about the role of the media in fighting terrorism. His plea that it should not project militants as heroes is wide of the mark. Mainstream papers and news channels have invariably condemned militancy. Counselling restraint to the government should be unexceptionable. The media would be failing in its duty if it were not to say what it believed to be in the national interest.