The headlines in the newspapers read on Friday that Pakistan had “nipped Daesh in the bud”. The nation can thus rest easy, as the Pakistan Army said has foiled the attempts of Islamic State (Daesh) to organise itself in Pakistan by carrying out timely operations. Pakistan Army spokesman Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa in media briefing said 309 terrorists belonging to Daesh had been arrested - including 25 foreigners of Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi nationalities. On the same day, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif stated in Gilgit that Modi and RAW must remember, “Our defence is impregnable”.

The statements about rooting out Daesh, and stating the impregnability of Pakistan, were provided a sharp contrast today in the form of a blast in Mardan in which at least 14 people were killed and 52 were injured. The Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar on Friday claimed responsibility for this suicide attack at Mardan’s district courts. Being “Daesh free” gives us nothing to celebrate, as Daesh has minor presence here, and is geographically distant for now. There is no point in pre-empting Daesh, when we can't deal with vicious organisations at home that are ready to kill and maim with impunity.

And while it can be argued that we are an impregnable fortress in the case of RAW, recent stories of spies being caught as well as statements accusing RAW of orchestrating the Quetta attacks suggest otherwise.

The real terror is, and has always been, the Taliban and its like-minded cousins. All the terror groups are linked together in one way or the other, whether through funding, defections or ideology. Our counter-terrorism policy won’t work if there is a selective hunt. Haqqanis, TTP, Lashkar-e Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, etc., all need to be wiped clean. The army cannot eliminate any one group when other groups exist to shelter and protect them. Operation Zarb-e-Azab was supposed to protect the people and make sure no terrorist was left standing. Yet, even after such a valiant effort, since 2014 we have witnessed one massacre after the other, from Peshawar APS, to Friday’s tragedy in Mardan. Action must be swifter and fearless. We knew since 2014 that there would be a backlash by terrorists, and the only answer is to leave no man standing. A soft approach fearful of a backlash will not work; it must be all or nothing. When a year passes without a suicide bomb being detonated, that is when we can honestly say that Pakistan is impregnable.