Militants seem to have learnt the ropes so far as political maneuvering and strategic planning are concerned. They use every ruse and subterfuge to achieve their objectives. The TTP had offered peace talks to the newly elected government, but after the drone strike killed Wali-ur-Rehman, the TTP withdrew the offer. Now the spokesman of the banned organization has said that the TTP never made an offer for talks.

However, the All Parties Conference had passed a resolution that dialogue with the militants was the first option to bring peace to the country. Despite that overture, Major General Sanaullah Niazi, Lt. Col. Tauseef and soldier Irfan were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Upper Dir district on Sunday after they were returning from visiting forward posts along the Afghan border. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack. A unanimous resolution has been passed in the National Assembly condemning the attack on Pak military officers saluting the bravery and courage of Pakistan Armed Forces.

Reportedly, the TTP has finalized a 35-point agenda, which included demand for release of 4765 prisoners in different jails in Pakistan, release of Mumtaz Qadri who had killed former governor Salman Taseer, and handing over to it former president Pervez Musharraf. The militants seem to have done their homework, and are clear what they want. But the government and political parties look confused. It was hoped that militants would announce ceasefire, as the government had already given a gesture of goodwill by postponing the death sentence to the militants that include TTP operatives and commanders. Nevertheless, with the martyrdom of Major General Sanaullah Niazi and others, the prospects of starting talks seems obscured. The TTP and militants’ watchers are of the view that whenever they talk about the talks, they want a breathing space to regroup and consolidate. Others raise the question what is left now to talk about when militants continue with their attacks on army personnel?

After the recent killing of military officers, some terror apologists have the cheek to quote TTP’s rhetoric that in case India attacks Pakistan, it would fight India to the hilt. After killing 40000 innocent citizens in suicide attacks, through IEDs and bombings, and having martyred 5000army personnel and disabled in equal numbers, what service they have done to the country. In fact by launching attacks on military check posts and other assets they are weakening the armed forces, and at the same time tarnishing their image in the world. Even a section of the people and some critics of military raise the question whether the existing security apparatus could provide protection to the citizenry.

There is another news in section of the press that Al Qaeda vowed to start its activities in Kashmir to support freedom struggle of Kashmiris. People of Pakistan have full faith and confidence in its armed forces, and would not need the help of misguided and imbecile elements who have blood of thousands of Pakistanis on their hands.

Even as religious figures have been targeted by the extremists, both fatally and abortively, the religious tribe is loath to even name the militants organization while condemning their activities; what to talk of putting peer pressure on them to dissuade them away from bloodletting and violence. Rather they often justify militants’ vile activities on grounds patently spurious.

It is only the civilian and military leadership to think out a strategy, which indeed they should have done long time ago, but apparently have not done so far. Extremism has indeed become the biggest internal threat to the country, rather it has turned into a dreadful threat to its very existence. The perpetrators of terroris are laying claims to religious motivation, albeit very dubiously. The way they destroyed schools, shrines and attacked mosques and worshippers knocks the bottom of their pretense of being practicing Muslims. The sophisticated weaponry militants possess and use; the fighting expertise they display and unlimited funds they have go to prove that they are not religiously motivated but the proxies of certain alien powers. Unfortunately, our past government as well as present government has been hesitant to name the countries that support the militants.

We have a case study of Sri Lanka, where it was primarily due to the unrelenting efforts and sheer determination of Sri Lankan leadership that it could decimate Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelan (LTTE) ending the decades-old civil war and battle for carving out an independent ethnic homeland. At least once, the then prime minister Mrs. Bandaranaike had offered to amend the constitution to give a special status to the region inhabited and controlled by the LTTE; but Tigers wanted nothing short of independence. However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa managed to cut the supply line of ‘Tigers’ including the main source of supply of arms to Tamil Tigers in shiploads from Singapore, financed by Tamil Diaspora.

 Having said that, the government would have to use diplomatic channels to persuade the so-called friendly and other countries to stop funding the extremists and terrorists, and to take steps to stop material support from abroad through our porous border. We cannot overlook the sensitivities of the coastline before any action, and the borders would have to be sealed. It is still fresh in the minds of people that Pakistan had been dismembered because of material support from across the border.

The writer is a political analyst and freelance columnist.