AFTER about four months' of nervous respite in the acts of terrorism in major towns of the country, it appears that the scourge is rearing its head again. On the heels of two bomb blasts in Peshawar, one that took the life of only the attacker himself and the other that killed five PAF officials and eight civilians, a suicide bomber struck at Lahore on Wednesday claiming the lives of nine persons, including two policemen, and wounding at least 35 others, a number of them critically. A usually busy shopping centre in Iqbal Town, Moon Market was packed with people and a large posse of policemen were on duty for security purposes, as citizens had come out to enjoy the sight of lighting several buildings were adorned with on the eve of Independence Day. The militants had obviously given the post-general elections political set-up time enough to devise a strategy that precluded the use of force to create peaceful conditions in the restive tribal region. And with the military option now apparently taken as the preferred course - the continuing armed action in Swat and Bajaur that took 25 lives on Wednesday - the Tehrik-i-Taliban, Pakistan, warned of taking the war to the rest of the country. It might be quite hard to fathom the mind that prompts someone, presumably without outside coercion, to sacrifice one's own life in the process of putting innocent people to death as a means of securing a coveted place in heaven. However, it certainly gives an idea of the extent of distorted understanding of Islam's concept of martyrdom that is prevalent in certain circles of our society where men of impressionable age are lured to throw away the precious gift of life. It falls on the government to enlist the services of enlightened sections of the population, more particularly the educated religious leaders, to spread the correct message. But the issue is not so simple; it has other strands, quite badly entangled. The US and NATO-led troops' occupation of Afghanistan, for instance, is a complicating factor. The more these forces act savagely, the more anger and resentment they cause. Their very presence is anathema to the tribal independent spirit. And then the frequent and indiscriminate use of missiles by the US serves as an incentive to the common people to join the bands of militants. The latest missile hit that is claimed to have killed 20 militants is a case in point. Pakistan's efforts to wean away the uninformed public from the misconceived view of achieving martyrdom under Islam can only bear fruit, if the foreign presence in Afghanistan comes to an end.