DRONE strikes followed by a series of terrorist attacks that militants maintain are launched to avenge the deaths by the US pilotless planes have for some time past been occurring in a worrisome sequence. In latest incidents, hardly had the cries of the dying, injured and bereaved subsided when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a Hangu checkpost on Saturday, killing 27, including 25 security personnel, and injuring scores of others than a drone hurled missiles on Sunday in Pakistan's tribal areas, leaving in their wake seven dead. For Pakistan, the dilemma is that while the US turns a deaf ear to its pleas against the violation of its sovereignty, the views of religious leaders of different persuasions cause considerable alarm among the people who wonder about the kind of politico-religious system that lies in store for them. Following the parliamentary approval of the Swat peace accord the people in general were looking forward to a climate of accommodation and peace to prevail as it was in that serene valley before it came under a turbulent spell. However, certain developments have borne out the fears of those who had thought that after the peace agreement not only the list of demands would grow ever longer but also ceding ground to fanatical elements would open the floodgates of pressure to replicate the system elsewhere in the country. While TSNM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad has termed all those, including MPs, who opposed Nizam-i-Adl as outside the pale of Islam, the newly freed Imam of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz has called for the enforcement of Islamic law in the entire country, which in any case is the same as stipulated in the country's basic document. However, an important point is that most religious leaders hardly ever see an eye to eye with one another on major issues of faith. The hopes of those who had been led to believe that militants would lay down their arms after the Parliament had formally given its approved to the regulation also stand dashed. Now the application of Nizam-i-Adl forms a precondition to surrendering the arms. In Sindh, there have been protests at the desecration of shrines and places of religious worship. TTP Muslim Khan has gone to the extent of maintaining that people blacklisted by the Taliban could only enter Swat after presenting themselves before the Qazi courts. These developments clearly point to the erosion of state authority and are a moment of reflection for the political leadership of the country. Urgent steps are called for to ensure that the state machinery and the people put their shoulders to the wheel to make Pakistan, as visualised by Allama Iqbal and Quaid-i-Azam, where egalitarianism, justice and fair play are the governing principles of life and an atmosphere of tolerance of differences in views prevails. Islamabad must also intensify efforts to convince Washington to put a halt to the drone attacks.