Anyone looking at the state of Pakistan today would find death and destruction, a state of complete anarchy, reigning in different parts of the country. While terrorism routinely visits the north (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata), the south (the sprawling port city of Karachi) and the west (Balochistan), other areas, though spared of the daily bouts of terrorist-related bloodshed and vandalism, remain in constant dread that the militants might strike them anytime. The writ of the state is nowhere in sight. Life seems to be moving undirected and unguarded in the state of Pakistan.

The unnatural death of a single individual would, at one time, have roused the nation’s conscience and brought hordes of people on to the streets to protest, the brutal killing of 21 personnel of the Levies is now passed over without comment. The authorities that would have acted fast to investigate and not rested till the culprit had been to taken to task, would now content themselves with a mere statement of condemnation and an ironic assurance of the security of life and property of the citizenry. Interior Minister Rehman Malik going a step further would promise a full report into the incident before making any comment – the findings of the report would, one can be certain, never be known and the deadly incident would be overtaken by another such event. These security men were abducted by around 200-strong contingent of the Taliban from two camps near Peshawar on Thursday and their bullet-ridden bodies were found on Saturday; the TTP, with its agenda of enforcing an archaic and self-interpreted system of governance in Pakistan announced barely a couple of days earlier, claimed responsibility for shooting them to death in custody. A more deliberate defiance of the injunctions of the religion of peace the Taliban falsely claim to champion, would be hard to find. Similarly, the agonising deaths in Karachi of seven bus passengers as an explosive device went off and the vehicle burst into flames would hardly cause any ripple in the corridors of power; only the friends and families of victims would be left to suffer the pains of loss. This and four deaths in Quetta make the tally of human loss at the hands of terrorists in a single day; the next day, Sunday, brought its own tale of woe, as the daybreak saw a bomb exploded in a bus at Mastung resulting in the death of 19 and injuries to a much larger number. Matters today echo the absolute failure of our political and military leadership to disperse the paranoia and conspiracy theories that envelope the general populace. Nothing short a firm commitment to root out the evil of militancy could bear fruit; there is little time left for the leadership to act and act with an iron hand.

Why the Army Chief, now in the second year of his three year extension, speaks often of the need for a “consensus” before action is taken. However, an Army Chief who received an extension on the grounds that he was essential to the counter terrorism efforts of the Pakistani armed forces, should not hide behind the need for 180 million people to all together agree on the obvious and must do what he knew had to be done two years before when he received his extension. The 95% of the defence policy, which is made by the mutual consultation of the army, navy and air force, as verified by the Secretary of Defence, must now be focused on the need to root out extremism and terrorism from society. Those who would attack our soldiers deserve to be responded to with the full force of our military, which we maintain at heavy cost to the taxpayer for exactly this purpose.