While meeting Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Tuesday, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins expressed a very important realisation, one which the US should keep in view in the weeks and months ahead: that Pakistan has an important role to play. Such a basic understanding would not be cause for surprise, but the statement by Mr Dobbins’ boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, during his recent visit to New Delhi, that India has a role to play after the US draws down its forces in Afghanistan, did not bode well for the future, because it hinted at an institutional misunderstanding of the situation at the US Administration’s highest policy-making level. The killing in Karachi of seven people, including a Sindh High Court judge and a Rangers officer, on Wednesday, was another grim reminder of the terrible need to find a way to end the violence. No one in Pakistan is safe, unless the militant elements, whose primary claim is to be punishing Pakistan for participating in the Afghan war, are neutralised. The US's talks with the Taliban show that even a superpower has failed to humble these elements with force, which is all the more unfortunate for Pakistan. Turmoil in Afghanistan after the NATO withdrawal will be calamitous for Pakistan. This is the reason Pakistan has been seen to be supportive of US talks with the Taliban, to use that as an optimistic indicator that the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan may also approach the table for peace talks. The TTP's reign of terror continues, even as they again express "willingness" to talk with the government. In a video statement on Tuesday, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said that it had no objection to talks with the government if Mian Nawaz and Imran Khan could stand guarantee for the results. The TTP had originally offered talks provided that Mian Nawaz, Jamaat Islami chief Syed Munawwar Hasan and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman stood guarantors. Our government must decide what is the right time to start talks, so that the state is in a position of strength, not the militants. At the moment, the militants appear to be gloating in their success to target civilians anywhere in the country, even as they continue to battle our troops on the western border.Pakistan too needs a strategy to launch a peace process. The US should understand, or be made to understand that despite Pakistan's help in bringing the afghan Taliban to the table, peace in South Asia will not be achieved unless Pakistan's security is also guaranteed. Attacks launched from within Afghanistan must stop, their initiators must be tracked and apprehended. The Pakistan Taliban must also be forced to the table, in tandem with the Afghan Taliban. Both groups must be made to lay down arms and give up their anti-state propaganda. Pakistan's sincere desire to help in the peace process will yield no long lasting results for the region, until its own legitimate and immediate concerns are made part of the solution. If that includes neutralising the TTP, using any and every possible means at it's disposable, so be it.