So far, Radd-ul-Fassad has been nothing more than an expanded and aggressive policing protocol. While everyone agrees that improved policing in urban areas is important, they also agree that it alone will not be enough to end the “Fassad” as planned. The new operation certainly doesn’t compare with the previous one, where the military’s hard power was accompanied by the state’s administrative and legislative soft power. The National Action Plan (NAP) may have fallen by the wayside, but it was envisioned, mapped out, and applied to a certain extent.

This new push lacks the more indirect methods of fighting terrorism, and that is why the Prime Minister’s address at the Jamia Naeemia seminary stands out that much more. He told the gathered clerics that they must take up the pulpit to spread a message of peace and tolerance, as “it is the responsibility of religious scholars to free the name of Islam from terrorists.”

Nawaz Sharif has rarely ventured out as a leader trying to bring the country together – preferring the role of a statesman and politician – and thus his comments must be appreciated, especially since this is exactly the kind of message the government needs to be propagating.

But one solitary speech to one seminary – which has been historically close to the Sharif family no less – is not going to be enough. It may check off the box of “encouraging tolerance” for the Prime Minster but practically, it has little effect. There are countless clerics across the country and this message must reach all of them, and with authority. It is here that we step back into NAP territory, where we realise that vague notions of “spreading peace and tolerance” have to translate into actionable, concrete policies whose results can be measured.

This message of tolerance must be consistent, and spread from all state institutes. Ministers, judges and bureaucrats must all be instructed to disseminate the government line and do it forcibly. The effort to get moderate clerics to spread a tolerant message must be a nationwide campaign, involving respected religious figures, state sponsored seminars and perhaps even incentives to participating members.

And with the carrot must come the stick; the real problem – those intolerant, extremist clerics and individuals who will not change their message despite gentle calls – must be punished. The state’s hate speech and anti-sectarian laws need to apply much more stringently. Known politicians, clerics, mosques and individuals are spreading intolerance with impunity. While they exist, the Prime Minister’s words will have little impact.