WHILE a Parliamentary Committee holds deliberations to hammer out a consensus national policy document to deal with terrorism, news has come of at least 15 security personnel having been killed in a single encounter in Swat. Already nearly 2,000 troops have died while performing their duties in FATA. The number of non-combatants who fell victim remains unknown. About 200,000 tribesmen have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the ongoing operations. The need to evolve a consensus on militancy thus assumes great importance. Despite a widespread realisation that the army alone cannot win the ongoing war against an elusive enemy, political parties remain divided on a number of issues. The PML-N has accused the PPP-led government of following a failed policy devised by former President Musharraf. There are also differences even within the ruling alliance over the issue. While President Zardari has said the militants would be fought on all fronts, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has called for the termination of the military operations and holding of talks with the militants. The Q-League is reportedly pushing a different line of action. It was an appropriate step under the circumstances to form a 16 member committee comprising representatives from all parliamentary groups. That the army agreed to provide detailed briefing to the Parliament on the operations is yet another indication that it looks up to the political leadership for guidance. There are however differences over a number of issues between the political parties. Should the army operations continue till the militants are no more in a position of strength? Alternately, should they be immediately called off to kick start negotiations? Should talks and operations continue together? In case it is decided to hold talks, should the army be recalled or allowed to continue to hold the ground it has gained till the outcome of the talks? As the PML-N's proposals sent to the Prime Minister Gilani indicate, there are a number of points on which there is a convergence of views between the PPP and the PML-N. Both agree, for instance, that the key to regional peace lies in Kabul and bilateral efforts are required to deal with terrorism. They also have similar views regarding the need for restoring the writ of the state in the tribal areas and that none should be allowed to use Pakistan's territory for terrorism in any other country. While it might be idealistic to hope to evolve a consensus among all groups in the Parliament the least that needs to be ensured is a joint policy document that has the support of the PPP and PML-N. More time should be taken by the committee if some of the issues remain unresolved. For this, the ongoing exercise to evolve a modicum of consensus may be prolonged, if necessary.