Hakimullah Mehsud, the chief of TTP - a militant organization fighting against the Pakistani state, and declared wanted, with Rs 5 crore head money - was killed in a US drone strike along with four others near a town in Miranshah, North Waziristan, on Friday. His predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, and his deputy, Wali-ur-Rehman, were also killed in drone strikes on different occasions. The reaction to the news from key political figures of the country give the confounding impression that a peace-loving, patriotic Pakistani has been killed, and not a terrorist responsible for the murder of government officials, army personnel and thousands of innocent civilians.

Interior Minister, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, issued a statement accusing the US of “a conspiracy to sabotage the peace talks.’’ PTI Chairman, Imran Khan, took it a step further by urging the federal government to block NATO supplies in retaliation to drone strikes. Other politicians issued similar statements expressing concerns over the serious implications the incident is likely to have on peace talks and the security situation of the country. What peace talks? And what security situation?

Since the federal government’s offer of peace talks, did the militants, for a single day, halt their bloody campaign against the country? Did they lay down their weapons to ‘give peace a chance’? Are their pre-conditions of withdrawing security forces from the troubled regions, and release of convicted fellow militants from jails implementable, or even agreeable? Did a single statement given by Hakimullah Mehsud suggest that he was willing to abandon his ‘mission’ of implementing Sharia by force? If the answer to even one of the preceding questions is a “yes”, perhaps the statements of the political leadership would be comprehensible. Unfortunately, our brave leaders echo a profound denial of reality and a dangerous obsession to appease manufactured public sentiment.

The fact is that the TTP is not a unified force which can act as a guarantor for several militant factions active in the country. There is a huge difference between controlling, and being affiliated. For the sake of argument, even if it is agreed that TTP is really in control, then what exactly happened in the case of All-Saints Church and Qissa Khwani bazaar blasts? The TTP distanced itself from the attacks, but at the same time supported them and declared the horrors "just".

And, as far the concerns for the security situation go, the leadership is reminded that in case they haven’t noticed, Pakistan is already in a state of war. Just because it can get much worse doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good and peaceful right now. People are being killed every day. No one is safe. Even if an arrangement is miraculously reached as a result of negotiations, it would be nothing more than a temporary lull, until the TTP break their word again. It would be the height of naïveté for Choudhary Nisar to assume that his pure intentions would be reciprocated by the TTP, because this time they are facing him and not someone else across the negotiating table. To learn from history, if that is not too much trouble, it is advisable to recall the Swat episode. Deal reached; stabbed in the back; and ultimately the last resort of a military operation was employed to clean out the area.

The drone strike on Hakimullah Mehsud may also indicate that the relationship between Pakistani and American intelligence agencies is on the mend. It is highly likely that the fruitful result was achieved with the involvement of Pakistan’s co-operation in intelligence. However, it is likely and security experts warn that there may be a surge of attacks by the militants to avenge the demise of their chief. It appears that we are inching closer to the logical conclusion.

The peace talks were bound to fail. A military operation has long been whispered as the only logical conclusion – whether Choudhary Nisar admits it or not, he knows it has been discussed as the likely end. The only thing that has changed, is that the drone that killed Hakimullah Mehsud, makes that military operation all the more urgently necessary. If we continue to appease, and pander, and obfusate - as Imran Khan and Choudhary Nisar are clearly in favour of doing - we will be missing a golden opportunity to take decisive action against a group that has killed thousands, and will kill more.

Agreed that the journey has been accelerated due to this incident, but the destination remains unchanged. The state cannot be a sitting duck anymore. It should seize the opportunity to attack the enemy while it is without effective leadership. Let the formidable military of Pakistan take action and take the fight to them, to those who are gearing up to launch a series of attacks on us. An enemy of the state and its people was killed on Friday. The rest of his colleagues must surrender, or meet the same fate.