Though advertised as part of the response by the militants to the success of the Pakistan Army's campaign in the tribal areas, the suicide attacks in Lahore and Multan represent different new dimensions of the problem, and show that the militants are probably evolving with the developments in the War on Terror, and are probably going to take the War in a different direction than it is following at present. The attacks may well be a response to what the Army is doing in the tribal areas, but as a result, the militants are creating new dimensions. Though there has been much resentment among the ordinary public of the blasts, there has not been an increase in the conviction that the militants' cause is wrong, only that their methods are. This is important for the War on Terror, in which the public perceives the government as fundamentally wrong, not just in the methods it has followed. That the blasts occurred successively in the hometowns of the chief minister of the country's largest province and of the country's prime minister, has probably been a coincidence, which did not form part of the initial planning. Perhaps the Lahore blast should be seen as influenced more by the Rawalpindi blasts, which were very obviously aimed at the security forces, and not necessarily at those involved in the operation, like the Navy or retired personnel. The second blast, at the Friday congregation in Rawalpindi also targeted children. Similarly, at Moon Market in Lahore, inevitably children were among the killed and injured. The militants clearly no longer have any objection, if they ever did, to them being killed. This was also a strike which did not involve the security agencies, as did the previous two bombings in Lahore. This was even though, in the form of several federal and training establishments, the federal police have a strong presence in Lahore, while apart from the Lahore corps headquarters and two divisional headquarters, the ISI has its provincial headquarters in the city, as do other defence establishments. However, the Multan bombing showed a reversion to form, with the target of an ISI office specifically, and the security agencies, not the general populace. However, this may well be the result of a terrible conservatism, a doubt that those killed in the execution of the Lahore bombing were rightfully killed, and thus shaheed. This is a grave doubt, because the whole justification of carrying out the blasts is the attainment of this status. While adult victims are covered by the doctrine of takfir, by virtue of their giving consent to an unIslamic government, children are not, being too young to give any consent, and thus must be assumed to be innocent. However, in Multan, children were not among the victims. The personnel of the security agencies, according to this interpretation, do fall under the doctrine of takfir, because their agencies are cooperating with the kuffar against the mujahideen, in other words, with the Americans. The Multan blast also represented a new departure. Either the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has gone after a nonsectarian target for the first time, or else it had admitted a new group in what had previously been virtually a monopoly. Also of importance is the fact that this is the first important bombing in South Punjab since it was first mooted that this area might become subject to drone strikes as Al-Qaeda people shifted here from the tribal areas. That these bombings were also the first since President Barack Obama's announcement of a troop surge in Afghanistan is probably not of great significance, and just a coincidence of timing. The militant response to that event will only occur when US troops actually land in Afghanistan. Also, the likely response will not be by bombers, but will involve the shifting of Al-Qaeda operations to Pakistan. However, the shifting of the Lashkar from sectarian targets, or its allowing operations by another group in its traditional area of influence, indicates that the Al-Qaeda influence over it is growing, as either it can be ordered to shift targets, or let in another group. This is something that will be truly momentous for South Punjab, and indicates how Al-Qaeda is preparing for the eventuality of shifting. This also indicates that in any postulated 'war of the drones', Pakistan may find itself a mere spectator which only provides the battlefield. The obedience of the Lashkar also means that South Punjab is ripe to receive the shifting of Al-Qaeda, which requires a local ally, or rather subordinate, to facilitate its personnel in the actual shifting. The Lashkar, or rather its sectarianism, has found roots in South Punjab because there are also class elements in the sectarian dispute. The traditional gaddis, through which Islam has usually been transmitted, have found themselves on the wrong side of the sectarian divide, as the emerging middle class found sectarian colouring for its struggle against the landed aristocracy. It did not help for the aristocracy to use sectarian colouring to mock the religious symbols of the urban artisans and small landowners. While the traditional gaddis, like those represented by Prime Minister Yuosaf Reza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, still hold the allegiance of the people, their message of tolerance of the sectarian divide is not so easily heard above the noise of the sermonizing of the sectarian ulema, who come from the same urban artisan class as their listeners. That the blasts are not a local problem is clear, as the blasts keep on spreading. However, they mean that the government must mobilize more resources than at present. The federal government, at this juncture, must take to international capitals the facts about Indian involvement in funding the militants and providing them arms. It must stress to the USA that its blind trust in India, its ambitions to make it the regional policeman when it achieves great-power status, and most specifically its inroads in Afghanistan, are all misplaced. The USA should stop accusing Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism, and look carefully at the Indian role in doing this. At the same time, domestically, the government must increase its domestic intelligence sharing with the provincial governments. It must work harder at obtaining intelligence from the militants and disseminating it among the provinces. It should now also brace itself for the spread of the War on Terror to South Punjab, where it had previously stopped at Lahore. In fact, it should probably prepare for its spreading even further south than Multan. More likely than not, it will have to be ready for both bomb blasts and drone missile strikes in this area. E-mail: