ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, reeling from the tragic assassination of a party stalwart, senior provincial minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour, at the hands of a suicide bomber, has called for a decisive strategy to combat the forces of terror wherever they exist, including their sanctuaries. He told a press conference at Peshawar on Tuesday that it was the job of the government to root out the evil and not his party’s responsibility; for it was not ANP’s war but a battle of survival for “all of us”. Calling upon all parties to help evolve a consensus on the issue, he said that his party had already nominated leaders who would contact different political parties and ‘national institutions’ to devise a comprehensive strategy for the purpose. Mr Asfandyar Wali Khan lashed out at the double standards of those who while not condemning these brutal acts of terrorism, cry hoarse against the drone attacks; he himself was a critic of drones in as far as they kill innocent civilians, but had invariably condemned all forms of militancy.

Terrorism, a deadly hydra-headed monster unknown to the land not long ago, has swept across the length and breadth of it over a period of a decade or two, spreading its tentacles to engulf sectarian antipathies, ethnic rivalries and personal enmities and, thus, roiling the peace. The KPK and Fata, being closer to the theatre of war on terror, have to bear the main brunt of a backlash of Pakistan’s association in the war, has, as a result, suffered more and made more sacrifices in the form of civilian lives. The ANP President’s grief and outrage are shared across the country, there can be difference of opinion about his stand that it is the responsibility of the government to defeat terrorism, though, it ought to have support of political parties and various institutions in the country.

In the south, Karachi, the most populous city of the country and composed of people hailing from all its parts and representing different schools of thought, is the scene where these despicable rivalries – ethnic, sectarian and personal – are being persistently played out. And yet, the authorities appear to be insensitive to this demonstration of aggressive assertion of fanaticism, as if it would die out on its own; instead, left unchecked, it has the tendency to assume ever more grisly form, as the country has to experience to its mortification. There is need for all pressure groups to urge the federal government to devise a comprehensive policy to effectively tackle the menace. Mr Asfandyar Wali Khan has also stressed upon political parties and others to come up with a strategy to put an end to this scourge. The nation is looking to its leadership in the hope that they sincerely strive to restore peace and harmony in the country through whatever means possible.