DESPITE the army having achieved major successes against the extremist militants, much needs to be done over the next few years to establish the writ of the state on firm foundations. Unless these measures are undertaken, there can be serious reverses leading to the weakening of the hold of the state. What has been achieved in Swat is the downgrading of insurgency to the level of simple militancy. The Army has pushed the militants out of the towns and cities of Swat, Buner, Malakand, and Upper and Lower Dir. What it has failed to do is to nab the principal leaders. What is more, avoiding a head-on clash with the Army, the TTP managed to save hundreds of its armed supporters who are now lying low waiting for a chance to regroup and strike back. An NWFP Minister has announced that from July 10, the IDPs from Malakand Division would be moving back to their homes. This seems difficult because as long as the major TTP leadership remains free to issue threatening statements, it would be difficult to provide a sense of security to the IDPs. The Army's next target is South Waziristan, an area which unlike Swat and the rest of the Malakand Division, is a part of FATA, where the writ of the state has traditionally been confined to the security forces' forts and the office of the Political Agent. The local tribes were independent in internal affairs which till the arrival of the militants, they settled through tribal jirgas. The allegiance of the tribal leaders to Pakistan was ensured through a complicated system of rewards and disincentives. Baitullah Mehsud changed all that by physically eliminating the tribal elite and replacing them with local commanders loyal to him. The Army faces a hard task in the region where the TTP leadership reportedly enjoys the support of thousands of battle-hardened militants drawn from a number of countries, where they cannot hope to go back for fear of being imprisoned or hanged. The foremost aim of the Army should be to deprive Baitullah Mehsud of his capacity to orchestrate terror attacks in the rest of the country. Over a longer period, the government needs to re-establish the authority of the tribal leaders loyal to Islamabad. It should also make calculated, though incremental, moves to bring the troubled area into the national mainstream. For this it has to allow political parties to operate in FATA and set up ROZs to kickstart economic activity. The government has to fulfil the responsibilities it has ignored too long, good governance being the foremost. There should be rule of law in the country and the courts should provide efficient and cheap justice. A system based on merit should replace the present one based on privilege. Unless the measures are taken in good earnest, whatever military victory is achieved is likely to be lost through misrule.