The March 30 armed terrorist attack at Manawan Police Training Centre, located at main GT road in the outskirts of Lahore, was immaculately planned to cause maximum casualties and disruption, just as were those on security forces in Bannu and a police intelligence office in Islamabad a few days earlier. All three (and later boastfully the Binghampton killings) were owned in television and radio interviews by Baitullah Mehsud, a 35 year old warrior from South Waziristan with a $5 million bounty on his head, leading an army of about 25,000 fidayeen under the banner of Tehrik-e-Taliban. His uncharacteristic promptness in claiming responsibility could be a signal either of his enhanced capability or of his desire to be on the world stage, both possibilities that need careful appraisal. The dozen or so attackers at fortified Manawan are believed to have conducted extensive reconnaissance of the area, possibly assisted by sympathisers or members of the network working inside the facility and had cleverly selected the morning time for the assault when the trainees are routinely out in the parade grounds. One coordinator outside the facility was captured alive by the public, a couple blew themselves up and the rest managed to escape after several hours of battle with the security forces. Such episodes give credence to the statements of Admiral Mike Mullen and other American generals, who are convinced of sympathisers inside our intelligence apparatus that have clandestinely maintained their old established links. Though the government functionaries at all levels have persistently denied any such collusion, such ideological alliances are a distinct possibility in all sections of our society. The government finds itself precariously placed amid domestic political compulsions and international pressures. Unfortunately, the time for following a policy of duplicity has run out and the leadership must choose one clear direction, take the Parliament, all political parties and stakeholders on board followed by bold resolute actions with a firm commitment. It was the military mindset of General Ziaul Haq that introduced the concept of mercenary army at the behest of the Americans in the early Eighties. He exploited the commitment of the tribal people to Islamic values and the oratorical skills of the local mullahs to motivate them in the name of Islam to wage jihad against infidel Soviets, who had invaded the brotherly Islamic Afghan nation. Both Zia and the Americans abandoned the mujahideen after the mission was accomplished. The fighters, exposed to exploits of war, equipped with heavy contingent of arms and ammunition supplied by the Americans or unloaded by the retreating Russian army, were now left with no means of earning a livelihood except to utilise their recently acquired expertise as mercenaries to gain power, fortune and glory in an area that was left vulnerable with merely a symbolic administrative control of the central government. The next general to rule our country for over eight years from 1999 onwards was Pervez Musharraf, who preferred merry making with the American donated money and enjoying the luxurious trappings of the state's power than to take difficult decisions. He alienated the religious tribals with his 'enlightened moderation' and looked the other way while the militancy grew and when he mobilised the army in 2004 to overpower them the result was just the opposite. His equally unwise use of force that killed Akbar Bugti and many of his followers in Balochistan and hundreds of inmates of a religious seminary in Islamabad and his thoughtless decision without consultations or evolving a national consensus to allow unconditional access to the Americans in these territories pushed them further away to the only path they knew. A few militant groups emerged that used the Taliban philosophy of providing strict speedy justice to gain acclaim among the poor, disillusioned with the corrupt government administration and the long, costly justice system. These miscreants effectively used a combination of Islam, anti-American sentiments, Pakhtun nationalism, poverty, ignorance and access to arms to establish parallel governments in the tribal agencies extending their influence to the settled areas of NWFP and Balochistan. The deployment of 100,000 Pakistani troops has not succeeded in dismantling their hold during years of ground operations supported by air cover. The government had to partially surrender for a compromise formula of enforcement of Nizam-e-Adal, brokered by Maulvi Fazlullah, to bring peace to the Swat valley. The seven agencies remain under virtual control of the Taliban where missile strikes from drones target the terrorists but end up killing more innocent people and angering ordinary Pakistanis who regard this as a violation of their sovereignty. An estimated 1.5 million people routinely carry arms as a part of traditional culture in the tribal areas. These arms have been mobilised in the past to further the interests of the state in Kashmir and in Afghanistan. These patriotic Pakistanis never engaged in any anti-state activity and we must regain their full confidence and support if peace is to be restored. Unfortunately, the jinni has emerged from the bottle as it had been kept stifled and sidelined from the national mainstream under the military concepts of strategic depth, strategic assets and a buffer zone for defence in the North West frontiers that have proved to be fallacious. Pervez Musharraf proceeded to eliminate the possibility of a legal challenge by the Supreme Court to his actions like handing over Pakistanis to the Americans. On March 09, 2007 he coerced the Chief Justice of Pakistan to resign that proved to be the beginning of his end. Flustered by his refusal, he sacked and placed the chief justice and his family under house arrest, igniting uproar in the entire legal community and civil society that developed into an unstoppable movement led by the firebrand Aitzaz Ahsan and Ali Ahmad Kurd. In a series of ill advised blunders, he declared martial law, introduced constitutional amendments by decree and made it mandatory for judges to take oath of allegiance to the Provisional Constitutional Order. All declining judges were dismissed and placed under house arrest. The nation has now acknowledged that it was the unprecedented act of defiance to the Executive by the chief justice in exercise of his constitutional authority that united the entire nation to seek the freedom of superior judiciary from its customary subservience to the Executive that had repeatedly condoned abrogation of the constitution and validated unconstitutional acts. The media, particularly television sensed the overwhelming public support to the cause and played a significant role in the success of the movement by throwing its full weight behind the campaign. The struggle for the reinstatement of deposed judges to pre-November 03, 2007 status, reached its conclusion on March 16, 2008 after two tumultuous and eventful years. It can be termed historic, as never before had a voluntary movement based exclusively on a point of principle been launched with such missionary zeal and considerable personal sacrifices let alone be successful, that remained entirely peaceful while fearlessly confronting extreme repression of two successive governments of the day and quietly faded like a sunset immediately after its single point agenda was conceded. It was this movement that forced the hand of the military dictator to grudgingly allow the return of the two mainstream exiled leaders to Pakistan in 2007, to call general elections on February 18, 2008 and eventually hand over power in a peaceful transition to full democracy. It is ironic that Pakistan Peoples Party that had joined the movement and had agitated and sacrificed the lives of many of its party workers when it was out of power, refused to reverse the Dictator's purge of judiciary after ascending to power. Eventually, it took the domestic and international pressures in the face of the mass mobilisation of people led by Mian Nawaz Sharif on the fateful March 15 when he defied house arrest to lead the protest march that forced the president to agree to reinstate all deposed judges in the early hours of the next morning. There were no outright winners in this over two years saga just as there are no winners in the tribal areas except that the hearts and minds of our people are kindled with hope with the newfound independence of judiciary and the entire nation including the religious parties are gradually getting united to fight militancy that is defaming Islam. The people have shown their resolve by winning the first battle and are now ready to fight the other where everyone will be a winner. The write is an engineer and an entrepreneur E-mail: