President Mamnoon must be gearing up for his address to the National Assembly on November 4. Just how he will set about it is anyone’s guess but if his speech is going to be an exercise in illuminating the virtues of his government, he will be sidestepping the biggest threat: terrorism. No politician accepts that to be the case, neither anyone belonging to species of leaders is strong enough to say what next if we aren’t going to stamp on terrorism. It is someone else’s wagon that we are pulling, we are told.

President’s address will have far greater weight than his uttering’s elsewhere and hence audience both at home and abroad will be eager to tune into TV sets. The time to start a nationwide debate on terrorism is now. Though the curse is nothing new and it is still killing on a daily basis, the sight of sickeningly familiar soap orators saying something harsh against it is fast becoming a rarity. Putting on a brave face alone will not do anymore. The state of denial has gone to such depths that we keep hearing words such as ‘Taliban are my sons’ and ‘our hearts beat with the Taliban’ ring on our ears over and over again. Who are we fooling when we keep looking away from the most obvious problem that has almost stripped the homeland of all things one can associate with freedom and security.

So what is the rest of the world going to think of Pakistan? Terrorists who have browbeaten even the armed forces! No one is willing to trust us anymore. When it comes to the journey Pakistan will have trudged through, say in 15 to 25 years, it is that of a people with water up to their necks. And yet we are being told things won’t go that far.

It is time somebody said out loud what is happening to the state and its poor denizens. Thousands are dying. The state hostage to those it once reared, it keeps feeding the people a diet of half-truths. The thinking that the Taliban need to be given a piece of Pakistan all to themselves is being hammered everywhere as a sermon. What will happen as a result of this cowardice is guaranteed destruction. There is no question that the wilderness we are headed to is a dungeon soldiered by Taliban. But of all the problems we have, the biggest one in fact is not admitting this is where we are going to.