IT is a matter of great relief that on an issue that has been wracking the nation's brains for the framing of a common strategy, the leadership of political parties, though initially divided, has seen the wisdom of adopting a united stand after debating its different aspects for two weeks. Terrorism, a most daunting global challenge of the time in which Pakistan finds itself badly embroiled, cannot be grappled if major political forces in the country were to view it from different perspectives. It cannot at the same time be defeated only by military action. That should be the last resort after saner, peaceful means have failed to establish the writ of the state and restore normal life. The 14-point resolution, prepared by a 16-member committee, that the joint session of Parliament endorsed, consists of principles, but then a comprehensive policy that aims at wiping out such a complicated scourge where points of view were so disparate could at best be presented in principles. It calls for an "urgent review of the national security strategy" in order to bring back peaceful conditions and gives primacy to dialogue, but does not rule out the use of force if it were the only option left to restore the rule of law. When state intervention becomes inevitable, protecting the lives of non-combatants becomes a priority. As militancy has other offshoots in the context of Pakistan - sectarian strife and internal disaffected elements, mainly in Balochistan - the resolution underlines methods to deal with these issues as well, since without tackling them, real normalcy and sense of security would turn out to be a mirage. Going to the root of the problem, the strategy envisions the need for developing the troubled areas and the provision of job opportunities to the local people. Once they develop a stake in the preservation of peaceful conditions, the government's persuasion would no longer be required. The resolution looks very well on paper but when it comes to putting it into effect, the challenge would turn out to be quite formidable. The US is firmly opposed to dialogue and would subvert the idea, even though its own commanders are now admitting that military action alone would not do. Our political orientation as well as economic woes hardly suggest that we would have the courage to defy its wishes. That would upset the entire calculation. The US responded to our resolve to "effectively...safeguard" the country's "sovereignty and territorial integrity" by a missile attack on our territory, killing 10 persons, hours after the resolution was out. Nevertheless, to save the situation from worsening, we must only promote national interests, as set out in the resolution.