She says no. He hears maybe. On one side, a proud character, arrogance personified, unmoved and unimpressed with affectionate words and gestures offered in its way. On the other side, an over-eager entity, blind to everything else in its relentless pursuit of the impossible, convinced that persistence is the key. Refusal, rebuke, outright rejection – all part of the ‘playing hard to get’ routine before the eventual acceptance. Such is the tragic tale of the hopelessly romantic federal government of Pakistan and the indifferent Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The government keeps extending offers of peace talks, and the TTP carries on turning them down. Making sure that the government doesn’t get any wrong ideas – not sure how that is even possible considering the usual clarity of its brutal responses – the latest offer was reciprocated by the TTP with two bomb blasts, in case one attack alone failed to establish the seriousness of its answer.

Sometimes, yes means no and no means yes. But, clearly, that is not the case here. Maybe, it’s time that the members of the pro-talks camp face the reality: Mullah Fazlullah is just not that into them. Now before self-doubt and remorse takes over, and transformations commence in a quest to appear more desirable, they must be assured that there is nothing wrong with them. At least, not the way they might imagine. Look at the statements from the TTP’s chief and its spokesperson. They really aren’t interested. Even, Mr Asif Ali Zardari can see that now. He is certain that militants are not interested in peace talks and will not halt their activities until they capture state power through sheer force. If only, the PPP’s stance in the Parliament was reflective of its leader’s realistic approach. The closet pro-action members of the Parliament must come out and express their views openly. No one will judge, if that is the fear holding them back. With their silence, they are complicit in the criminal delay in tackling the nuisance at home.

At least five security personnel were killed and over 34 injured as suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car in a military checkpost, a mosque to be precise, near Miranshah, North Waziristan. They were offering evening prayers when they were attacked. But, most probably, this will change nothing. The government is busy offering ‘relief schemes’ to the victims. Punjab Chief Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, announced the enhancement in compensation to Rs10m from Rs3m for families of the martyrs of police personnel who lost their lives to terrorism. Appreciated, but unless the government wishes to write countless cheques for the rest of its tenure, it must tackle the fundamental issue here: militant extremists. Root them out, and the rest will take care of itself.