IT is really ridiculous to see the leadership of the Centre and Punjab trading accusations against each other over responsibility for the ongoing acts of terrorism across the country. The tirade coming from the Centre especially, have been insensitive as well as baseless in the immediate aftermath of the Data Darbar tragedy. Worse still have been the histrionics from the Governor Punjab against the government of his province. At a time when national grieving requires a healing touch from the rulers, instead of uniting the nation against terrorists, new provincial divides are being created by the likes of the Interior Minister with talk of "Punjabi Taliban", despite the fact that terrorism knows neither ethnic nor religious identities. No wonder the terrorists find themselves with increasing space for their murderous plans against the Pakistani nation. The targeting of the Sufi saint's shrine in the heart of Lahore was definitely the work of an Islam-hating group - and it is time the oft claimed external funding sources of militancy within Pakistan are made public by the government. The choice of target was meant to create sectarian and provincial hatred and destabilise the country further by destabilising the most populous province and pushing Pakistan on the disastrous road of a military operation in the heavily populated region of southern Punjab. It is in this environment that Nawaz Sharif's call for a national conference on terrorism to evolve a consensual strategy is a welcome move. He has not only volunteered to get his party to organise this but has said he would welcome such a move from the Centre. The government needs to move on this as soon as possible. Not only should all the political forces be brought to the table, but expertise should be sought from different Pakistani sources. It is time we moved out of the US anti-terror ambit with its failed strategies and evolved our own consensual strategies taking into account ground realities. A national conference should take as its starting point the National Assembly's resolution a while back on terrorism. It must also consider a short term strategy alongside a long term policy to deny space to future potential terrorists. This would require a focus on education - both for the sort and long term, as well as economic hope for the masses. Some measures, on which there is a general consensus except from the ruling PPP, can be taken immediately to alter the operational environment to a positive one for a counter terrorism strategy. Amongst these measures would be an end to drone attacks, a retreat from the IMF-dictated economic measures which are causing increasing despair amongst the population and a visible delinkage from US policies which in itself will rally the nation around the government. Beyond that, a visible culture of political tolerance will rebuild the same at the level of the people. Nothing will reflect this more than a national conference against terrorism.