Professor Ajmal Khan’s rescue after four years is one of the few small victories that should be celebrated amongst all the madness that surrounds us. An educator, kidnapped for his vocal support for the fight against militancy spent 48 months being shuffled around various TTP prisons without any hope of release. In February, rumors surfaced about his release as a goodwill gesture, but the breakdown of talks ended that possibility. His release tells us that it is the Operation that is result-based, and talks were nothing but a distraction.

Kidnapped in September 2010 with his driver who was released two years later, Ajmal Khan was one of three high-profile hostages in the custody of the TTP. While he wasn’t tortured in the captivity of the terrorists, the emotional toll on him and his family must have left a mark. His release also brings hope to the families of Shahbaz Taseer and Ali Haider Gillani for their safe return. The efforts of the military personnel responsible for his release must be commended; their heroism and courage will inspire nothing but gratitude in the hearts of Professor Khan’s family and the rest of the nation.

No details of his recovery have yet been released, but his safe return can be used to uplift the spirits of the entire country and fight back the waves of pessimism that have come to dominate daily life. Kidnappings over extended periods such as this have torn too many families apart, and new life has been breathed into public confidence in the NWA operation. Ajmal Khan, Vice Chancellor of the Islamia University in Peshawar, comes from a family of educators and politicians; his grandfather Abdul Jabbar Khan was Chief Minister of West Pakistan and KPK, as it is now known. Abdul Jabbar Khan’s brother was founder of the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement, and Ajmal Khan is also a cousin of Asfandyar Wali Khan, leader of the Awami National Party. Sir, welcome home.