It was inevitable. Peace talks were bound to fail. Following which, a military action against terrorists would become unavoidable. The attack on Karachi airport was perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was big, and embarrassing. Also, it was a loud and clear message by an enemy determined to destroy. The world was looking on and wondering: Pakistan, are you going to do something? Anything? Doing nothing, which may have appeared as a reasonable approach once, wasn’t an option anymore. The recent wave of terrorism terrorised less and infuriated more. With the US cheering on, talks in the bin and the Nawaz government left with no moves to show, the long-awaited military operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) could now commence.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed both houses of the Parliament and informed everyone about Operation Zarb-e-Azb as well as the reasons behind it. The speech could have of course been more spirited considering that we’re going to war, but we’ll take what we can get. The PM said that Pakistan’s territory would no longer be allowed to be used by terrorists and that it was time to rid the country of the menace. It is extremely encouraging to see the country’s elected leader take a clear position on a matter so critical for Pakistan’s survival. But, they are still big words, the sort that appear too good to be true unless backed by action. Eradication of terrorism will require going all the way. That means fighting them in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and anywhere and everywhere they are present. That means targeting terrorists of all kinds. Is the state prepared to do that? Neither is NWA the only problem nor armed forces the only solution. Law enforcement agencies which fall under civilian control, such as the Police, will have to rise to the challenge. It is not possible for the military to go into every city and district and smoke out the bad guys. Police has a crucial role to play in intelligence gathering, and is also responsible for dealing with the backlash rests on it. If Zarb-e-Azb is to be more than just another exercise amongst many others that the military has undertaken before, then it has be complimented by consistent, countrywide action.

The response from most political parties has been positive. PPP, MQM, ANP, JUI-F – all have come out in support. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the armed forces have already gone in, and opposing them now won’t look so good. Even PTI has reluctantly accepted the decision. Of course there are some such as Jamat-e-Islami (JI), which is more concerned about the welfare of terrorists rather than common people, and they can be politely ignored. It is hoped that the nation will unite and fight bravely for a better future.