The army says it has killed at least 3,400 terrorists and destroyed 837 hideouts since the campaign began last June. They have dubbed the military operation a success, adding military courts were functioning appropriately in handling terrorism-related cases. However, this whole menace of terrorism cannot be dealt with purely as a security threat. The ideological threat still needs to be addressed.

The international media has picked up on this. The New York Times has recent published a report on the enduring power of militant Islamist ideology in Pakistan. The piece has called out the Pakistani military, saying that though they have driven some jihadist groups out of business or into hiding, not much has been done to stop other banned jihadist or sectarian groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. Yes, the way we are fighting terrorism does nothing to defeat the radical ideology, but ideologies do not change overnight, and it is unfair to expect a grand ideological shift within a year. The death penalty is part of this ideology. International rights bodies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have urged Pakistan’s government to stop executions. Yet, this is not what the populace wants. We have an eye-for-an-eye mentality, and this is reflected in the military action as well.

The totality of our politics has an extreme right tilt. When uber-conservative Islamists kill, we react with extreme right-wing polices like the death penalty and military courts. The sorting of our political ideology is a grand project, one that will take decades, as we have no influential left, or even a centre! Without alternatives, the state has dragged itself right into a pit where to survive a party or a group has to be right-wing- where the fascist religious groups like the TTP kill, and the moderates oscillate between defending religion and defending the people of Pakistan. Would we all not prefer to fight our ideological battles with liberals and leftists rather than religious extremists and fascists?