On Thursday, a police raid on a militant safe house in Kharotabad in Quetta resulted in the death of two militants, and serious injuries to some 15 security officials. It took several hours for the police and the FC commandoes to get the situation under control. During the shootout, the militants even hurled grenades at police. Reportedly what happened at the end was that the desperadoes blew up their compound with explosives. There appears to be little to fear, for those who are ready to even take their own lives, rather than surrender or give up their misplaced agendas.

Perseverance and courage are among two of the many attributes needed at the moment given the kind of enemy we are confronting. The operation could well mark the beginning of what appears to be a fresh effort to clean up the provincial capital, battered by political incompetence that over the years has allowed the terrorism to thrive with impunity. The likes of Chief Minister Aslam Raisani is no more on the scene; there is reason to assume that we now have determined individuals like Chief Minister designate Dr Abdul Malik who has won the confidence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Both of them have already made it clear that restoring peace in the restive province is their foremost duty. The criminals, various non-state actors and hardcore terrorist outfits have been killing the people because there has been hardly any decisive action against them. Newspapers are full of reports of bus massacres, bombs killing hundreds of Hazaras and other such incidents. The reign of terror was at its worst in the past five years; the magnitude to which it has grown, it requires a committed police, backed up by a political administration that can really square up to the odds.

Thursday operation shows that we can do it but we must first muster up the strength. The countrymen look on expecting both the provincial and the central government to rise to the challenge.