WHILE the Prime Minister's reaffirmation to reconstruct the militancy-hit Malakand Division is welcome, it is pertinent to stress that the job should be taken up in all earnestness and without loss of time. The people, who had moved to safer places in other parts of the country when the fighting between the terrorists and the military was raging, are already returning to their homes. Too much delay in rebuilding their homes and businesses is going to disappoint them, and is likely to create space for extremists to exploit. And as Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani promised, the development ought to be in all comprehensiveness as well. That should include an understanding of the actual message of Islam, which stipulates a reorientation of the old-fashioned madrassas. Besides, there is need to lay a wide network of schools and colleges to impart modern knowledge and set up the infrastructure for socio-economic development to bring the local population into the mainstream of Pakistan's life. It is good that Mr Gilani paid a visit to the valley to get the real feel of the sufferings of the people, gather an idea of the extent of the task involved and addressed the local people at Saidu Sharif. He was accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, COAS Gen Ashfaq Kayani and Chairman Special Support Group Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmad. Mr Gilani's words that the militants were divided and on the run, and his statement that the Army would stay in Malakand Division to ensure against their regrouping and till the reconstruction work was complete, must have given the local population an added sense of security and lifted its spirits. To fulfil Mr Gilani's promises, the authorities would have to demonstrate deep commitment. Completely rooting out the menace of extremism by itself is a challenging task, let alone the sustained effort required to undo the damage their acts of brutality caused. A vital input - funds - is not forthcoming in the required amount. Except for the government's Rs 50 billion and the US contribution of around $330 million, not many Western nations have come forward to donate, though they would never cease talking about the danger to their security emanating from the soil of Pakistan. It seems that either the government has to mount a hectic effort to persuade the so-called Friends of Democratic Pakistan to chip in enough money or dig deep into its own thinly furnished pocket. In any case, it must slash non-development expenditure and exercise austerity.