Tuesday was a tragic day, as three different bomb blasts took place within a span of a few hours. The blasts took place in two different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one targeting a police station in Kohat and a former peace committee head and police officials in Swat, and another in Raghagan, where a remote-controlled device exploded, causing two policemen to be martyred in the incident. On the same day, two policemen were killed and six civilians injured, including a young girl, in attacks near the Afghanistan border.

These incidents need to be taken extremely seriously. Three deadly attacks aimed at killing citizens and security officials on the same day cannot be understood without context. A statement issued by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack in Swat, mentioning that one of the victims had been on their hit-list for nearly 13 years. The government can no longer afford to allow civilians’ blood as collateral as it waits for TTP to respond to negotiations.

These attacks inspired even more alarm considering that Swat carries a bloody history with regards to militancy and the TTP. The locals particularly have a legitimate reason to be concerned over the resurgence of militancy. The target and method show that the militants will easily slip back into old ways against the state and its people if not countered effectively. The movement of terrorists has been noticed by residents, media and others in Swat and other regions; we must counter it with a no-tolerance policy.

Pakistan is in a precarious situation. We must take our security apparatus extremely seriously. We need to firmly pursue a peace deal, or abandon the option forever. Even in the first case, a ceasefire with a group that resorts to such bombings at the first sign of difficulty looks to be a highly flimsy deal.