As the army makes headway against the extremists, its progress in Mingora remains rather restrained. This is dictated by many facets. First, some of the local people are still holed up therein. Accordingly the army is, as per the ISPR, engaging the extremists, armed with latest American weapons 'stolen' from Afghanistan, in close fights so as to limit the use of air-power/artillery etc. It claims that the infantry invokes intervention by air only when some solid evidence surfaces about the target to go for the kill. Second, another deterrent is the fear of destruction of private property if indiscriminate aerial attacks are launched. No wonder such a strategy makes hand-to-hand fights the major thrust of the undertaking which, in turn, delays the final outcome. Third, in real terms it may lead to, generally, the army taking more casualties as well as longer deployment. However, as it can't kill/destroy its own people etc it has to adjust its fighting to public security/ground realities. By now, in about three weeks, more than 2 million people have turned IDP. Their torment, generally, is writ large like it was when hurricane Katrina hit US' south under George W. During my last visit to the camps in Mardan etc, I found these people surviving, generally, due to food and God-gifted resilience. Quite a few complained of the nonchalance of the government. Some even blamed the political parties in power of maladministration/corruption while an operation of this nature was being planned. It is difficult to pinpoint who and what went wrong on the government side at this stage. However, given our systemic failures aggravated by the personality-syndrome, one can guess the glitches gashing the relief-exercise. Despite the bravado of the local people, generally, and many more in Pakistan, a visit to the camps turns out to be a distressing episode. Even some administrators appeared to be committed to the cause but overall impression is bizarre. The Americans when they launched their out-sourced attack on Afghanistan in 2001made one big mistake. It could have been dictated by domestic political pressures etc. The indiscriminate lobbing of Daisy-cutters, bunker-busters and missiles on a ragtag force, which had no air cover, killed/destroyed massively. As the Northern warlords were motivated by ethnic revulsion/greed, they could not care less what happened to the Pashtuns who had been rough to them during the Taliban era. The US has a history of the killing of civilians in such wars as 'co-lateral damage', generally, without much regret. Such arrogance of power may be forgotten by the Vietnamese but the Afghans/Pathans, generally, do not forget but they can forgive if the tradition of reconciliation is invoked. It is the sins of neo-cons now haunting the ISAF and, if history is any guide, these would proliferate. No wonder in Pathan culture, enmity is defined as being a fire in the cow-dung which rages on slowly but seldom goes out. It for this reason that this area is called the 'graveyard of empires' which places the US in a quandary. Pakistan's democratic government has adopted the right approach as US-like remote-control killing of 'bad-guys', as in a videogame, would have created a civil-war-like situation in the country. The army too is mindful of Pakistani culture; more so after the colossal mistakes made by Yahya regime/ Gen Niazi in East Pakistan that simplified the success of the Indian game in 1971. As it is fight against our future, all segments of society have to do their best to bring operation 'Rah-i-Rast' to a successful conclusion without aggravating the crisis faced by the nation. We may have fumbled initially in tackling the horrendous migration from Swat etc, through inefficiency or lack of planning, but now a blitzkrieg of succor should spring at all levels to reassure our brothers-in-distress of our obligation. Punjab/Sind have, generally, contributed quite a bit towards providing relief but some silly statements from both the provinces in relation to IDP caused outcry. However, as confusion confounds controllers of our affairs, the damage has been undone through the statements of PM, Nawaz Sharif, CM Sindh. In any case it would be unconstitutional to deny entry to any Pakistani to any part of our country. While those who escaped the fight are in a bad shape, the ones who are still there are much worse off. They are running short of food etc as are those who have gone back to Buner/Dir etc after clearance by the army. US must appreciate that it has, at least, to fend for the IDP generously to forestall the chances of their alienation which could cost all of us heavily. Some Senators have written to President Obama for the same. He appears to be a wise man whose worldview is mature due to his intelligence, experiences and politics. It is time he went all out to win friends for his country in an otherwise damning environment. The US can hope to get peace etc in Af-Pak if Pakistan stands by her in search of a just settlement. Hence such help would be 'no free lunch'. The Duke of Wellington had said, "I always say next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained." Pakistanis have to wake up to the fault-lines in our Governance and social mores which promote knee-jerk reactions due to lack of respect for the rule of law. After the merger of Swat, Dir and Chitral in 1970 we dealt with them as per law of necessity which made them yearn for the tyranny of the old system. The new system, generally, promoted the corrupt which automatically sidelined dispensation of Justice. All those who know this area can't disagree with the CJ that our tendency to treat justice as an auxiliary created TNSM. Even the religious parties played to the gallery when they got power under Musharraf. Thus, besides the extremists, we the people have also contributed to the mess by failing to stand for the integrity of processes as well as the leaders. No wonder we are being scoffed by foreign countries, the mischievous lobbies in the US etc notwithstanding. As and when the ongoing combat ends, we must ensure that administration of justice prevails in the country. This would facilitate the emergence of transparency/accountability in Governance etc. Such a move could generate a spirit whereby the IDP get their due despite disillusionment with the status quo. Unless and until we learn to live as God-fearing and honest people, generally, duly supportive of the constitution of the country, we will find peace and all its dividends elusive. It may have been very taxing to fight the 'war on terror' but rehabilitation of the disturbed areas is going to be far tougher challenge. We may not be able to do it on our own. No wonder the President /PM have asked the world leaders to 'do more' to help Pakistan. Our indispensable input will have to be integrity of process and persons playing their role as leaders, army, administration etc. If the world wants peace at this juncture of economic meltdown etc, it has to help stabilize Pakistan at all costs. The role we have to perform can't be out-sourced, more so when we want to be a democracy.