On the periodic table of militants, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan top of the Halogen pops. Time and again, they have proven themselves the most reactive of this pugnacious line up, which includes incendiary performers such as the Artists Formerly Known as Al Qaeda, the Afghan Tally Ban and the Al-Shababi Kababis from Yemen. However, much like Fluorine, that most violent of dental products, the TTP are an anomalous entity. By rights, Fluorine should combine with Hydrogen to form the most powerful acid known to man. But in a twist worthy of M Night Shymalan, the bond between Hydrogen and Fluorine isn’t as tight as it’s supposed to be. Therefore, rather than being a lean, mean, metal dissolving machine, Hydrofluoric Acid is but a mildly seasoned Mojito in the face of the Harvey Wallbanger that is Hydrochloric Acid.

The TTP are no different. By rights, you would expect them to be most compatible with forces that share their hopes, dreams, aspirations and donor agencies. However, most Shariah-compliant institutions - such as the Dubai Islamic Bank – find themselves at odds with the aims and objectives of Fazlullah The Hood and his merry men. This should come as no surprise to the trained pundit; indeed, many well-seasoned analysts have speculated that these subversive sociopaths harbor no honourable intentions and, if given the opportunity, would strap ball-bearings and heavy explosives to their own mothers, if that would destabilize the Pakistani security apparatus.

Perhaps the greatest trick the Taliban ever pulled was convincing the people of Pakistan they didn’t exist, at least, as the ruthless terrorist organization that they are. Indeed, Ehsanullah Ehsan III, the unrelenting spin doctor currently in the employ of these high priests of mayhem, has launched a highly effective media campaign to counter the Zionist propaganda being spread in the global media. The narrative he is selling is not a new one: the Talibs are merely students, maligned by vested foreign interests. These fair-weather friends are the ones who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Kashmir; the same ragtag band that conquered the graveyard of empires. They are also the ones who brought an end to the hate-fuelled insurgency financed by pro-Malala elements and, God willing, they shall be the ones to end Rabi Peerzada’s brutal assault on impressionable young pantaloons.

A Freudian slip is all it took to bring the PTI to its knees. The newspaper responsible for the faux pas insisted it was a mere typographical error. But soon after a retraction was printed, members of the editorial staff were seen at their local dhaaba, consorting with the Quetta Shoora. While these contacts are no secret, the US intelligence community hasn’t been able to collect one scrap of evidence to implicate staffers of the daily Yawn. I believe it will take more than just a crack team of cryptographers and Dan Brown to crack this code, for the #TTPTI nexus communicates via the ancient art of tea leaves, which can only be read in the light of a full moon and only by toothless gypsy woman, or Shireen Mazari, which ever comes first. At a recent meeting, it was proposed that the two partners develop a system of smoke signals, in order to get their message deeper into the hearts of Waziristanis. However, this plan was vetoed when it was discovered that TTP messages were being intercepted by GHQ and in their place, smoke rings blown by General Kayani were being used to mislead the Insafian horde.

Asset declaration was all the rage in the days the Tehreek-e-Insaaf was campaigning for office. Now, however, even the slightest mention of a strategic ass… can trigger alarm bells within the Pentagon. Ironically, that is where most of our military strategy (and technology) comes from. Saying that Pakistan’s own military is capable of dealing with threats to its sovereignty is like saying that women enjoy a privileged position in Pakistani society because they don’t have to stand in line to deposit utility bills. Granted, this is a luxury not many women from around the world can claim access to, but then the Taliban aren’t exactly your garden variety separatists.

For eons now, the government of the land has been arming militias to do their dirty work for them. This is not unlike the Sri Lankan experiment with the militias they armed to fight the Tamil Tigers. While we may have a success story to work off, it must be said that the Lankans had a distinct advantage: they could Pied Piper their unpleasant rats right off the edge of the cliff into the Indian Ocean. Rather than trying to do something similarly brutal, the timid Pakistan Army has resorted to using USAID funding to buy truckloads of Afghan rugs. Not only is this a valuable contribution to the impoverished economy of the AfPak region, but it also makes it convenient to sweep all errant dirt bugs under the aforementioned rugs. I always say a smuggler with a rug is better than two in the Hindu Kush. Maybe it’s time the generals warmed up to my kind of hawkish thinking.

The writer is a former journalist currently working in the development sector.