Which part of the equations of terror in this country does the establishment not understand is what has me confounded for years. With every passing year, month and moment I am more nonplussed than before, because with every terror attack the evidence against bad policies piles up. With every passing year, the establishment has witnessed the utter failure of its security and foreign polices, but like a mule it appears to be continuing with parts of those disastrous policies.

For years I continued to argue against ‘negotiations’ with terrorists and my argument’s essence went like this: You know what they want. They want to replace democracy, constitution, government, courts etc. and run the country themselves and rule over us according to their interpretation of Sharia. You know exactly their model of governance from Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Negotiations are give and take. So what rights of mine, and two hundred million others, do you plan to give away to the Taliban in your negotiations, and in return for what? You know that for them it’s all or nothing and the very idea of negotiating with known fascists is nonsensical, and that we the people do not give you the right to negotiate away our fundamental human rights. They are not yours to give away. And that is essentially what the Taliban are after.

But not a single person, whether in uniform or in parliament or out of parliament, that was supporting negotiations with the Taliban, condescended to let me know what rights they intended to ‘trade’. Nor did they disclose the answer to the most fascinating question: what were they hoping to get from the Taliban in return? Think about it. Think very clearly. What is it that the Taliban could give in return? Cessation of violent attacks on the population in return for violating them every day with their rule?

So you can see that there was only ever zero logic in their ‘plan’ to negotiate with terrorists. But they would not listen to logic and kept trying to ‘negotiate’ and getting kicked in the teeth again and again till one day one sane man said enough of this stupidity, I’m going after them. And he had the power to do that, and so he did.

But that was TTP, which had continued to punish the army and innocent civilians till the army command changed and the commander one day after heavy military casualties decided to tell the prime and interior ministers to mind their own business, and commenced the military operation in North Waziristan, the TTP’s haven.

Similar to my story of negotiations and my frustration with “which part of ‘you can’t negotiate with Taliban terrorists’ do you not understand?”, is my frustration with “‘Which part of ‘good and bad terrorists are all connected and supporting each other’ do you not understand?” Similar is my bafflement with which part of ‘if you will continue to publicly host and protect Afghan Taliban, the Afghans will host, protect and assist TTP’ do you not understand? How else can TTP, which has been dislodged from North Waziristan, but is comfortably operating from Nooristan, Kunar and Nangarhar in Afghanistan, launch such deadly attacks inside Pakistan. What incentive does Afghanistan have to crush TTP or cut down its ability to strike inside Pakistan, given that Pakistan offensively and audaciously continues to house, help, protect and treat Afghan Taliban in the best medical facilities of the country like the Agha Khan and Shaukat Khanum hospitals. Indeed, if I were an Afghan, whether ordinary or the government, I would do my best to inflict as much damage on Pakistan by any means, including through the TTP, to teach her a lesson in an effort to make her stop using Afghan Taliban to interfere in my country.

Similar is my bafflement with which part of ‘JeM, LeT, JuD, Laal Masjid, etc. have the same ideology as the TTP even if ostensibly not attacking Pakistan and useful for stirring up trouble inside India and Indian Kashmir; they are cohorts and assets of the TTP’ do you not understand? Why are they not being disbanded? Till they are disbanded and neutralized, in whichever way possible, TTP will continue to have these ideological brothers to help them. Till they are disbanded, India will continue to isolate Pakistan and remain motivated to provide any insurgency inside Pakistan with support in order to help Pakistan to come to her senses. Till all militant Islamist terror groups are dismantled, there will be no TAPI and no IPI, no CPEC, no Central Asian Trade through Pakistan, no trade with India – because not only will their activities in neighbouring countries will keep the TTP alive and kicking, they or their members will keep morphing into newer groups such as the ISIS which now has a presence in Pakistan.

Next is my perplexity with which part of ‘your strategy of asymmetrical warfare with your neighbours through non state terrorist outfits continues to backfire and has brought us to our knees’ do you not understand? This strategy lost us 140 of our kids one year ago. The military and civil leaderships said they were going to stop differentiating between terror groups – that there would be no ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But one year on, their actions have given the lie to their words. The interior minister states that there is nothing to prosecute Maulana Aziz for. I say find a way to try him for all the cases of treason and murder against him in which there was clear miscarriage of justice against the people of Pakistan when he was acquitted by fearful courts. And I say send him to the military courts you allowed to be established. The murder, sedition and treason happened in front of 200 million eyes on live television. The man must be retried. After the Pathankot attack, JeM leaders have been taken into ‘protective custody’. But they have not been charged. Why not? Clearly, the government of Pakistan has been provided with evidence, why is it not being followed up?

Once again, which part of ‘you will never win this war till you go after the ideology and the terror nurseries of extremist Islam in schools, mosques, madrassas and universities’ do you not understand? Till a fundamental shift away from brainwashing of people through madrassa and school curricula and sermons in mosques is not made, new terrorists will continue to be born and to attack the state and people of Pakistan while you keep killing the old ones. And a day will come that there will be so many of them, you will be over run. Which part of this does the establishment and civil and military leaders not understand?

Those in power continue to do the same thing as with the years of negotiations with Taliban: never provide the answers to these questions and continue with mulish persistence with disastrous policies. This is borne out by the establishment’s refusal to act against several banned organisations in the country. It is also borne out by the obfuscation being created in the media by its mouth pieces who, even as the Bacha Khan University attack was in progress, starting blaming India and Raw for the attack. The deliberate obfuscation means the establishment is not willing to own up to its culpability in getting innocent Pakistanis killed.

For argument’s sake, even if one were to accept that India was behind the Charsadda attack, without a shred of evidence, mind you, doesn’t the blame come right back to the establishment’s own policy of letting JeM operate from Pakistan to inflict damage on India? Why is there still no introspection? Why is there still no truth? Why do we see no palpable change of course with regard to these particular groups, when it is evident even to the blind that they are hurting us, indirectly, if not directly?

My last question to the establishment: Which part of all this does do you not understand? We need answers. And if there are no answers, then there is clearly no logic in not acting against all militants. And the people demand that you eliminate all the groups you created and nurtured. They are killing us, and you are responsible.