Flushing out the extremist elements from Malakand, Swat and catchments areas is by no means an achievement. It was not a simple setting whereby religious extremist wanted to have their particular brand of ideology to prevail. Over the recent years, numerous complexities had crept in, whereby local and foreign actors were taking advantage of the situation to further their respective agendas; this permeation had been systemic and incremental. An innocent looking movement had in fact become a vehicle for clandestine promotion of other unrelated objectives. The strategy to handle the crisis was prudently couched in national consensus. Unflinching support from allied countries facilitated an early accomplishment of this task. Presumably, it would now set the pace for other troubled areas as well. This success story has certainly boosted our image amongst the comity of nations. Aura of fear and insecurity has ceded space to tranquillity. Military action that commenced, on the collapse of Swat peace process, is now reaching its logical conclusion. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are returning to their homes to restart their normal living once again. Return of IDPs within a short span of couple of weeks is indeed a rare spectacle. This speaks volumes about the sagacity of our political and military leadership. Bipartisan approach by the political leadership came handy in sending across a strong message to the extremists. Counter-extremism process started with remarkable consensus building at national level. Later, highly professional execution of military action ensured minimum collateral damage. This has put to rest the doubts aired by pseudo intellectuals regarding our armed forces' capability to handle such situations. As of now, extremist seize to exist as an organised entity in the area under focus. Presumably they do not have the capacity and capability to create an environment of timidity, anxiety and horror, at least in near future. Mass displacement of local population has also been handled satisfactorily; distinct feature was the voluntary cooperation of the population of the adjoining areas who hosted a significant portion of displaced population. Demonstration of the spirit of hospitality extended by the local population in line with their cultural traditions and universal Islamic teachings was indeed commendable. Besides, credit is also due to GoP, UNHCR, all donor countries and agencies as well as volunteer organisations. Through collective effort the dooms day predictions, of another Rwanda in the making, were reduced to a naught. Yet, it's not the closing of the event, finale is still far away. With top and operational level leadership of the militants still alive, and at large, it would be nave to presume that hydra headed menace of extremism would not make efforts for its revival, and indeed for staging a come back. Therefore, consolidation of gains is very vital. This warrants a concerted effort encompassing multi-dimensional plan of action for addressing the causes of extremism. So far, through application of military instrument, we have only treated the symptoms, and may be that too partially. Any counter-extremism military action causes social disturbance and displaces the people in a large number. In this case also protracted disruption of economic activities has created quite a hardship for the public of effected area. Therefore, it is essential that an enabling environment is created for speedy restoration and reconstitution to ensure resumption of essential socio-economic activities at the earliest. Economic revival should be a high priority item on consolidation agenda. There is a need to declare the area a tax free zone for at least the next five years, likewise the benefits of calamity hit areas should also be extended till the time effected areas become economically viable. Attitude of civil society at large helps in encouraging or discouraging the extremism. A well-grounded tradition of anti-extremism attitude shall have a dampening effect on perpetuation of militancy. We must mobilise 'people power' against the militants as well as the causes which brew extremism and militancy. Comforted IDPs could form a potent pressure group for confronting the extremists at social and political levels. Having gone through the trauma of abandoning their homes during a timeframe of harsh climatic conditions, IDPs can be counted upon as change agents in the overall integrated consolidation framework. They need to be co-opted for spearheading preventive, containment and curtailment measures for pursuing a sustainable counter-extremism campaign. Human aspects need to be handled in a sophisticated manner. Good care of the returning IDPs would keep them anti-extremists for times to come; however if neglected, they could become sympathisers of terrorists. At institutional level, there is a dire need to introduce mosque and seminary reforms so that only appropriately trained personnel take up the jobs of prayer leaders and teachers. Area specific regulatory body may be set up to oversee the functioning of these vital institutions, so intricately linked with churning out extremists. Vocational training must be a part of curricula of all seminaries. By and large, religious elements especially the politicised lot, remained apologetic towards military operation, this was indeed unfortunate. There is a need that our mainstream clergy sheds political expediency and discharges its responsibility by distancing itself from the elements who want to use religious sentiments as a carrier of their non-religious objectives. The nation also expects them to use their good offices in taming the extremist gangs. As we enter the consolidation phase, there is a need to fully capitalise on the gains of elimination actions. Prime objective of consolidation phase is to convert an uneasy calm into permanent tranquillity. Disorganised cells of extremists need to be destroyed though a well executed mopping up operation. We should establish appropriate institutional checks so that the elements which have dissociated or who intend to dissociate from extremist bands do not relapse due to residual contributory factors. Benchmark for end of this phase is the time when extremists are reduced in capacity so that they can neither regroup and reconstitute nor make sporadic revisits. During this phase, military instrument needs to go into background while maintaining an effective deterrence. We, as a nation, need to put into effect a master plan to ensure that Swat/ Malakand zone becomes a model extremist free area on long-term basis. It is a task easier said than done. Nevertheless, the nation has the resilience to accomplish it The writer is a retired air officer of Pakistan Air Force E-mail: khalid3408@gmail.com