The Pakistan Army is struggling in Swat and Bajaur, the restive North Western areas of the country, to destroy the hideouts of militants. The Air Force has also joined them. However, the big question is: if the armed forces succeed in ending the present turmoil, will the problem be sorted out forever? Dealing with militants militarily is, of course, indispensable in the present circumstances, but it amounts to suppressing the fever and not treating the infection, or the cancer, causing the fever. There are three main factors behind the unending replenishment of manpower to militants. Firstly, myopia of successive Pakistani governments vis--vis mushroom growth of madrassas which are in thousands now across the country. The main bastions of the seminaries are the tribal areas, situated at the Afghan border and governed directly by the federal government, settled districts of North Western province and fertile vast plains of South Punjab. If lack of modern education is the reason in the tribal and north-western areas, perpetuation of feudalism and the resultant poverty are the source of problem in South Punjab. Secondly, unlike India, where land-ownership pattern was drastically changed by the policy makers soon after the partition of the sub-continent, the anachronistic feudal system in Pakistan continues to plague the economy as well as the social set-up. In Indian Punjab, the ceiling of ownership of agricultural land is 24 acres per family whereas in Pakistan sky is the limit. Presence of dynasties in elected bodies, starting with local institutions right up to the top forums, is one of the many fallouts of the ever green Pakistani feudalism. South Punjab is the worst hit area in this context. The primitive land ownership- pattern, illiteracy and poverty are coercing masses to send children to seminaries where lodging and three meals a day are free. Sending four to ten years old children to the Gulf States to 'work' as camel jockeys can also be attributed to the same set of factors. Countless seminaries of South Punjab are playing the role of nurseries for un-ending number of militants. Thirdly, the education system in the country is class-oriented. Unfortunately, policy makers in Islamabad are oblivious of the fact that most of the militants are either the product of the Islamic seminaries or of an inefficient system of government-run schools. A million-dollar question is: why expensive educational institutions of high quality are not supplying any manpower to the militants? Some years' back Sufi Muhammad, a self-proclaimed religious leader of Swat, led an army of thousands of fighters across the Afghan border to "fight" against the Americans. Most of them were armed with sticks and rusted old-fashioned guns. After all, their majority consisted of stark illiterates or 'graduates' of seminaries Why successive governments did not attempt to bring madrassas into the mainstream? Why no heartfelt efforts were made to change the land ownership pattern? And why quality education was, and is, practically, reserved for privileged few? It is not easy to answer these questions. Politicians commonly attribute the failure to the despotic military regimes who, according to them, neither had intellectual capacity to comprehend these issues nor they allowed the masses to apply trial and error method in choosing elected representatives over a period of time. Military dictators, on the other hand, maintain that politicians and bureaucrats did remain at the helm of affairs during the intermittent garrison reigns. Considering the unenviable educational level of the majority of politicians, one is constrained to question the role of bureaucracy during all these years. The powerful and influential courtiers like Qudartullah Shahab and others never persuaded Ayub Khan to bring radical reforms in the fields of agriculture and education. It is surprising that Shahabnama - the famous autobiography of Shahab - does not contain even a passing reference to these issues. This is typical of a bureaucrat who is concerned with posting, promotion, perks, travelling, getting hold of post-retirement contracts and having no time, and in some cases no brain, for reforming the society in real sense. The role of bureaucrats during later military regimes has not been different either. On the contrary, one finds an unholy alliance between feudalism and civil service. The "friendship" which sets out in a subdivision by sending a "complimentary" buffalo to the bungalow of an assistant commissioner reaches its culmination in the federal capital after two decades when the feudal arrives in the city as the law-maker, and the assistant commissioner as policy maker. The alliance thus continues and thrives. It is no secret that ministers get bureaucrats of their choice appointed to run their ministries whereas "non-sponsored" officers keep waiting for months to get posted It is on record that influential landlords have been blocking the establishment of schools in their areas and bureaucracy has been fatally overwhelmed. School buildings owned by the government have been used as cattle yards. The vacuum has been promptly filled by the increasing number of seminaries. Government-run educational institutions have not been different from seminaries in the sense that in quality and character both have been akin to each other. When seminaries are accused of producing only imams, comes retort from clerics that government education system is delivering only clerks The upper strata, consisting of the civil and khaki bureaucracy as well as politicians enjoy chains of prestigious and costly institutions which prove gateway to overseas universities and careers. It is absurd, and pathetic at the same time, to assume that the rising militancy will be wiped out by mere strong-arm tactics. But then there is no limit to flippancy. The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist E-mail: