After only 10 days of aerial bombing in North Waziristan, the TTP has added another twist to the drama by declaring a month-long ceasefire to discuss the terms of peace. Ever since the idea of talks was floated to the public, the terrorists have not wasted an opportunity to use the spotlight to launch their new PR campaign. Shahidullah Shahid must finally be enjoying his job as TTP spokesperson because it allows him to be able to comment on Misbah-ul-Haq’s batting style and issue threats to journalists on national television- right after admitting to killing a few. The TTP is now experimenting with other weapons in its arsenal, such as psychological manipulation. Swinging the public to and fro between the ideas of negotiations and fighting has now been engineered to perfection.

The grand scheme is nearly complete, and all that remains is to somehow convey new orders to all 44 splinter groups of the TTP, which may or may not support this departure from tradition. Chaudary Nisar’s first move on hearing this news was to call Maulana Sami-ul-Haq in jubilation, who in turn cut short his spiritual vacation to return to the country at the earliest.

The government’s confusion and overall inconsistency in the matter of talks, as well as the rumours surrounding the leadership suggest that the government had no choice but to allow the air strikes to go ahead after the massacre of the FC men. The armed forces have kept silent and let the government do the talking, but their reservations against talking to an enemy they believe they can defeat will make them hesitate strongly before they put their weapons to rest.

The reports around the rest of the country are already troubling, considering that a day before the ceasefire announcement came, there were fatal attacks in Karachi. A day later, 14 people were killed in another attack in Khyber. So what will it be? How many times will we fool ourselves and then stare quietly at our hands as the TTP goes to town. How many times have we seen this before? What makes anybody think anything is different today compared to a fortnight ago? And when, will our collective amnesia end?