In the wake of the Balochistan attack, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has rightly vented frustration over the role of the intelligence agencies in fighting terrorism. He definitely has a very strong reason to think so.Our intelligence apparatus with agencies like the ISI and MI are household names, recognised now as a byword for fear, cloak and dagger stunts, missing persons and a common reliance on strong-arm means to get things done. Apparently working under the elected Prime Minister, the agencies are seldom accused of being under civilian control. An attempt by the previous prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani to have them under his wings got the axe; moments after the notification was issued, it was revoked. No wonder the spooks particularly those working with the military enjoy a fearsome reputation and are sometimes even thought to be the most powerful quarter of the armed forces with a specific role in national security. And hobnobbing with the militant outfits is also something our agencies have acquired a reputation for -- knowledge is widespread of relations beyond the requirement of remaining well-informed about the activities of these elements. Although the argument these days is that it was a bad chapter from the past, old habits have still not been given up. When we have such powerful agencies, whose heads sometimes earn such titles as “godfather of Taliban”, it is but necessary for any ordinary citizen or the Interior Minister for that matter to express deep anger, doubt and scepticism over their failure to rein in the terrorists who are killing people in thousands. What is even more pathetic is that the phenomenon of terrorism is not new; it has grown extreme over the past decade: definitely, the agencies with their resources and apparent absolute freedom, could have done something to stamp it out. And since that has not happened and every day we see bigger and more vicious attacks, their role naturally comes into the circle of just criticism.At the end of the day where should the citizens and the people of this country turn to for their security? To the police that cannot even protect itself or the civilian intelligence bureau that is worse off! Now that the Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar has mustered up the courage to censure the agencies, he should go a step forward and see what measures can be taken to make them cognisant of their task, that is to hunt down the terrorists. We have the wherewithal as well as the will, what really needs to be given is direction and a sense of purpose. While the Interior Minister goes about setting the house in order, he should do it with a clear head. The nation is behind him in this long overdue effort. But if the Interior Minister is also seen arguing in favour of negotiations one day and then having second thoughts the next, he would only make matters worse. The country needs to seriously pursue the business of taking on miscreants, with unflinching determination.