The terrorists are killing freely. They come out like predators, gorge on their pickings, run back safely and the next day they come out again. This time, they have attacked a staff of six women charity workers and a man accompanying them who were providing health and educational facilities to the people of Swabi. A systematic campaign of rampant violence targeting everybody, women in particular, leaves a big question mark on the state of our security apparatus. Hardly a sun sets without such attacks, yet on the national level, a clearly defined strategy to counter these forces has been missing.

A stream of condolences and condemnations flood the media. The tragedy is forgotten until the next attack when the same exercise of condemnations is repeated. This has to change; the rulers have been shying away from openly admitting where the problem lies. Would they be any different from cowards who duck, rather than face head-on when danger comes? They still keep oscillating between acting decisively and looking the other way. The harm that is being done to Pakistan could, God forbid, turn out to be the beginning of a prolonged and indeed worst orgy of violence, if the state continues to make light of it. Something has to be done and now.