How much more can one take. Another attack, 25 dead, more injured,  and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) gloating and offering talks with impudent hypocrisy in the aftermath. More condemnations from the same faces, more protestations of anger and grief, and more inaction from the state. Even Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan condemned the Taliban by name; while in the same breath he wondered what kind of negotiations were taking place that such an attack could happen alongside.

What has been clear for some time, but does not seem to have dawned on those pushing for negotiations, is that the offer for peace by the TTP is a mirage. Nothing short of total surrender will be acceptable to them. When in fact, it should be nothing short of total surrender that should be acceptable to the government. The attack on a security checkpost will give rise to some kind of retaliatory action. Perhaps of the same kind seen in Mirali and Miranshah soon after General Raheel Sharif took the reins; and belatedly supported by the Ministry of Defence once the news broke. But other than assuaging immediate anger – the kind that razes a town to the ground – this will achieve nothing.

For too long have All Parties Conferences, talks of ‘consensus’, threats of ‘blowback’, and cautions of ‘unwinnable war’ been used to delay what is necessary: a military operation in North Waziristan and any other place that needs it. Ordered by the civilian government, whether the opposition likes it or not. Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan should either resign from his post, or if he is unable to offer sane counsel to the Prime Minister, should be relieved of the office he appears unfit to hold. The Prime Minister too, must cease his impression of a man with no mind and display that he has the capacity to take the tough and immediate decisions that the country needs.

Doing nothing is an option – and it’s the wrong one. Say no to talks. The participants would be the TTP on one side -- power-mad and misleading to the core – and some government-picked mullahs on the other – incapable of making any negotiations on behalf of the state and not the fit persons for the job either.  The conditions can’t be met anyways, who is capable of stopping drone attacks?  Say no to talks. And pick up arms, instead. It would be a decision still ten years too late, but do it now, and perhaps we can redeem our future. Do nothing, and effectively hand over control to the TTP.