THE ultimatum by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Chief Baitullah Mehsud to the NWFP government to either resign in five days or face the 'consequences' is devoid of all reason. A TTP spokesman speaking to a news agency said that the outfit would launch an offensive against the government if its conditions were not met. Apart from the Pak-US alliance in the War on Terror, the organization cites the deteriorating law and order situation in the region as a cause of its warning to the provincial government. However, since it is the movement itself, which is stirring unrest in the tribal belt and presently in Hangu, the argument falls flat. Their words against the NWFP set-up fails to take into account the cooperation the provincial government extended previously in hammering out peace deals. The ultimatum therefore is a bad way of returning a favour. Secondly, the Taliban seem to turn a blind eye to the fact that it was originally a resistance movement that had its beginning in Afghanistan to purge that society of the menace of the warlords and Soviet occupation. One fails to understand their change of heart whereby they shifted their energies to Pakistan. The wave of bomb blasts that gripped the nation, notably in the past year, is not something that should be making the militants proud. While one is short of words to condemn the US pressure tactics, its air strikes and presently the massive build-up of troops near Lawara Mandi in tribal agency of North Waziristan, the line of action the Tehrik is taking is in no way the right reaction. On the contrary one had wished that rather than destabilizing the NWFP it had stood by the side of the government.   Militants should realize that any attempt to sabotage democracy would weaken the country. The verdict of the people in the national elections has to be respected by all. It won't do, issuing ultimatums to a government chosen by the people, to resign. The popular verdict cannot be simply overturned by the power of the gun. At the same time the government should abandon the policy of resolving the conflict through talks. That is precisely what the local population wants. The use of force should be avoided and recourse to armed action should only be taken when all other options have given way. Fortunately, in the face of both the growing US anxiety, and the Taliban threat, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani seems to strike a balance by saying that his government was still committed to resolve the conflict in FATA through talks.