Collapse of Swat peace process is unfortunate on many counts. Only good aspect of this event is that the onus of fiasco squarely lies on the extremist elements. This has further swayed the public opinion about these elements towards the negative end of spectrum. Now Swat area is under the grip of a full swing military operation to dislodge the extremist elements, who violated the boundaries set by the understanding reached between the provincial and federal governments and TSNM. Hopefully, violators of the peace process would soon be reined in, militarily; and the reconciliation process would be back on track. In this backdrop, it is pertinent to review counter militancy options, in totality. A number of countries have gone through the agony of countering extremism turned terrorism, some of these are Singapore, Egypt, Sri Lanka, India, Somalia etc. Each country's experience threw up a peculiar model suiting local environment. Comparative analysis indicates that no previous model could be replicated in a new situation. Each country had to develop its own methodology. Hence, Pakistan has to follow a homegrown strategy to counter militancy. Perception of deprivation breeds extremism which, if not attended to, leads towards militancy. Emergence of haves and have-not groups is a starting point towards this menace. Process gradually complicates when cultural, social, ethnic and sectarian dimensions get embroiled into the matrix, making it difficult to determine who's who. Terrorism is the end product. When religion becomes a factor, this end product is lethal, as religious appeal cuts across all traditional vertical and horizontal strata of the society. Needless to say that presently we are exposed to the severest type of militancy. Depending upon the complexity, the un-knotting strategy has to be prudent, conditioned by patience. Counter-militancy campaign is often marred by a step forward and two steps backwards analogy. Nonetheless, a wholesome approach executed through perseverance yields the desired results. The process is tedious and painstakingly slow; there are no quick fixes. Starting point is the development of an inventory of causes leading towards extremism. It should be followed by weaving a matrix of interdependence amongst these causes and the resultant complexities. This should be followed by addressing the causes individually as well as in various combinations. Within the overall perspective, sub solutions could be improvised to create dents amongst the militant coalition partners. These piecemeal actions would progressively shrink the strategic space available to the militants. Slowly, these bit by bit gains would start falling in relevant places, within the overall jigsaw type of solution. Following appropriate permutations of piecemeal approaches within an overall holistic umbrella is an effective option, when piecemeal actions are employed in unison and in mutually supplementary and complementary patterns. Within an overall strategic umbrella, tactical solutions could be executed for each locality, zone and situation. Short and long term options should be set into motion simultaneously, For example, good quality education is a long term measure, targeting the next generation, whereas vocational training is an immediate measure, aimed at rehabilitating those who opt to break away from the extremist gangs. Commissioning both the processes simultaneously would generate synergetic effects. Role of media is very important. It could either promote extremism by glorifying the extremists or help the state in combating it by de-glorifying the militants. It is essential that media plays a balancing role and ensures that military response to extremists' actions is duly graduated and stays proportionate to the threat. Military option and political dialogue always go hand in hand to counter extremism. Peace should be given a chance at each step, with military option going into background. Two facets of power projection, deterrence and destruction, need to be carefully orchestrated, often inter-switching their roles as primary and secondary instruments, to achieve the end result. Of these two, none can accomplish the task in isolation. In fact both operate in almost simultaneity. Attitude of civil society at large helps in encouraging or discouraging the extremism. People power must be mobilised against the militants. Likewise, mainstream clergy's condemnation of militancy shall further reduce the public appeal for religious extremists. Any counter extremism military action causes social disturbance and displaces the people in a large number. Humane aspects need to be handled in a sophisticated manner. Good care of IDPs would keep them detached from extremists; however if neglected, they could become sympathisers of militants. Regulating the military action for minimising the collateral damage has a direct bearing on swaying the public sympathy away from extremists. Therefore, it is essential that low yield precision weapons are used to keep the collateral losses manageable. Protracted disruption of economic activities creates hardship for the public. Therefore, it is essential that military action does not end up in a prolonged stalemate. Military campaign should be short and precise, enabling restoration, reconstitution and resumption of social activities as soon as possible. Life must return to normalcy at the earliest. All sections of the society have to demonstrate their apathy towards extremism and show the resolve to combat it effectively and expeditiously. It would indeed be heartening to see as vibrant a movement against extremism as we saw for the restoration of judiciary; for counter extremism is as noble a cause. Mainstream clergy has to come clean on the issue of extremism. Apologetic statements and half-hearted stance would erode their own credibility amongst the public. Overall, state and people have to act in unison, compatibility and concord to generate requisite synergy for countering the menace of extremism and the ensuing militancy. The writer is a retired air officer of the Pakistan Air Force E-mail: