After Swat, what? This is a question posed by all following the on-going army operation up north. If the army is to be believed it will not stop at Swat but continue on with its fight in Waziristan and the other tribal areas that give sanctuary to the Taliban and their allies. Difficult, as the government's writ does not and has never extended into these regions. With a weak government, bequeathed to us by friend, mentor and ally, the USA, the fractious political classes and an army obsessed more by a potential threat from India than the threat within its own country, the task may be even more difficult. But that the army finally awoke, when prodded by the US in April after inexplicable peace deals and inactivity, and went into top gear (as far as we know), could be good news. Our problem is that we know only what the army wishes us to know, we are solely privy to information disseminated by its spokesmen that we are expected to believe, as we are what we see in seemingly unchanging photographs and news footage. We cannot know what is 'really' happening. Be that as it may, America is pleased and at some stage will show its concrete support when President Barack Obama's request to the Congress to release a total of USD 310 million comes through. This is bound to happen, as it always has. The US has been paymaster to Pakistan through all its financial woes since its birth. As Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke stated last week in Islamabad, what the US is about to give towards this present predicament is half of that given by the rest of the world. This of course, as he rightly and frankly acknowledged, is given in the interests of the US in its present sole superpower position, with its AfPak policy to the fore, as it needs a Pakistan totally unshackled to the Taliban and their like-minded terrorist friends. A headline in the press on June 3 blazed: President urges tycoons to help rehabilitate IDPs. His wish is that the tycoons adopt affected villages and rebuild and rehabilitate. Now, what the tycoons and the people would like to know is what the tycoons sitting in the government and opposition have done? At the Islamabad Holbrooke press conference on June 3, President Zardari trotted out the old appeal to "hearts and minds." Coming from him, it is unlikely to arouse much response. This is an old phrase, the first modern usage of which is said to have been made by the British during the Malayan emergency when they were fighting nationalist insurgents. Then came its cynical use by the Americans in an effort to win support from the people of South Vietnam - it was a favourite of Lyndon Johnson who used it frequently at the time the US military was in the throes of devastating the South Vietnamese nation. It will truly be an uphill task for Zardari and his present lot of men and women to win the hearts and minds of the millions made homeless and left to rot, as far as the government is concerned, in totally inadequate and inhumane conditions. The military capacity may now be satisfactory, but what happens after the clear up? Will the army hold the area? Will the Taliban fan out into pastures new? And what happens to the displaced? There are no trained experienced reconstruction teams to institute some form of governance and re-development work, at least not that we know of. As has been said, the devil's in the detail and the coming months will show us how things play out. We are back in the old cycle that afflicts Pakistan's politics. Since 1958 we have seen military governments that came in on a popular wave and grew to be highly unpopular replaced by weak, corrupt and ineffective civilian governments which, with one exception, are able to complete their terms. Each time a cycle has run, what exists of the institutions of the state grow weaker, and in this present case so does the government's ability to contain militancy and terrorism. Doubts are being expressed internally and externally about the prospects of survival of the government we now have - which seems to thrive on doing nothing. Though this is termed by many as a good thing, inactivity being preferable to activity as when it acts it invariably does the wrong thing. Where is Parliament? It has not uttered. All we had was the May 18 joint declaration signed by several political parties supporting the military action, which, in order to win consensus had to carefully omit any reference to the Taliban. Does this imply that there exists millions in a state of denial who still remain sympathetic to the militant cause? The writer is a freelance columnist