Another round of briefings and deliberations has commenced in the wake of recent attacks by militants in Bannu, Rawalpindi and Mastung, and the subsequent retaliatory action by the armed forces in North Waziristan. But, as far as the federal government’s policy to deal with terrorism is concerned, it remains a mystery. What exactly is the government doing? It appears that once again, the action was mere retaliation for the attacks on the army personnel. After bombarding suspected hideouts for a day, and possibly missing the key target, the exercise has stopped. A kneejerk reaction, instead of a comprehensive operation against the terrorist network, will do nothing for the country.

If there is one thing that has become clear after the retaliatory airstrikes in NWA, it is the ineffectiveness of the opposition. There is no hue and cry against the action in the Parliament, just peaceful quiet. The people are sick and tired of the killings that occur across the country as a matter of routine. Mr Imran Khan’s doublespeak on the issue of terrorism is losing its appeal. Preaching peace to those killing scores of people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and everywhere else is not getting cheers from the crowd. Another thing going for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is that Maulana Sami-ul-Haq has disassociated himself from the proposed peace process. Wonderful. The government will surely do much better without his ‘assistance’. Maulana Sami-ul-Haq stated the government’s lack of seriousness as the reason behind his decision to distance himself. Of course, he failed to notice that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had killed more then 30 troops and several civilians while he was busy receiving a ‘positive response’ from them. His rival Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman has also spoken out in opposition of military action in the tribal areas. But, that’s fine. There is literally nothing that cannot be achieved in Pakistan without Maulana’s help or blessing. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nowhere to be seen. It is the closet supporter of a military operation, if one is to ascertain its stance from what is spoken by its members on talk shows and interviews. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has never concealed its views on the question of terrorism and its answer.

Such is the state of the entire opposition. Weak and ineffective. The field is wide open for the Prime Minister. The public isn’t having it anymore. His visit to the injured in CMH has conveyed the prevalent sentiment. There is nothing substantial that stands in his way. The few that do, can be ignored without much effort. Just because they like to exaggerate their importance, doesn’t mean everyone else should as well. If only the PM could find the resolve to rise up to the challenge and do the right thing.  What’s stopping him?