IT took National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza nearly three weeks to constitute a parliamentary committee to oversee the implementation of a 14-point resolution on terrorism adopted by the in-camera session of Parliament last month. The resolution, that the government touted as a major achievement, called for engaging in talks all those elements willing to abide by the Constitution of Pakistan, describing 'dialogue' as a principal instrument of conflict management. The committee, comprising 17 members drawn from parties across the political spectrum, has been allowed to visit the troubled tribal region and also convene an in-camera session of Parliament, if needed, to discuss the security situation. But before framing rules of engagement, the members will have to overcome their differences that came in the way of the selection of the committee's chairman. Those who believe that the resolution has been long on calls for negotiations and short on calls for action, should not ignore the fact that the situation in the tribal region deteriorated in the past because of the previous government's policy of tackling militancy through the use of force alone without engaging the stakeholders in dialogue. Resentment among tribesmen grew deeper following air strikes in our territory by US drones flown from Afghanistan, which, according to former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, started after a covert agreement between the Bush Administration and the Pakistani authorities. And there has been no respite from the crossborder attacks so far. One wonders what makes President Asif Zardari think that US President-elect Barack Obama would re-examine the strategy, when he is well aware of the fact that the Democrats had put forward a hawkish stance on the issue of terrorism during the recent election. But the new American Administration must keep in mind that increased intrusions into our sovereign territory, that stoke anger in the local population, would make it difficult for Pakistan to effectively fight the ongoing War on Terror. It is time both Washington and Islamabad understood that the use of force should go in tandem with the development of the tribal areas. There is no disputing the fact that the government cannot withdraw the Army from the restive region, as long as militants continue to impede the effort to establish the writ of the state. On Tuesday, Taliban hijacked 13 containers carrying supplies for NATO forces from the highway linking Pakistan with Afghanistan. This explains the need for keeping the troops deployed in the tribal areas until peace had returned to the area. The parliamentary committee needs to work really hard to monitor the situation and draw up comprehensive guidelines for the government to deal with the formidable challenge facing the country.