The Pakistan armys present operation in Swat and adjoining areas can in many ways be compared to what Leonidas, King of the Spartans, did for Greece in 480 BCE. In spite of warnings and even in violation of religious mores, Leonidas set out with a small but handpicked army to stop the advance of Persians into Greece. They knew that perhaps they were embarking on a suicide mission, still they chose to confront the might of the Persians at an area known as the Hot Gates, a sort of natural pass (much like our Swat) to the fertile central and southern Greece. While they lost their lives (as expected) in the process, their heroics and the Battle of Thermopylae that they took upon themselves to fight not only kept the Persians from over-riding their homeland, it also changed the entire history of the world to come. However, in doing so their strongest motivation came from their belief and trust in the Greece they were fighting for and the one they would leave behind: that their families and future generations will prosper in a country where rule of law prevailed, rulers were accountable, people mattered and the economy functioned. By the storyteller Herodotuss (of Halicarnassus) account the States taxes at the time in Greece were the lowest in Europe and the people most prosperous. Regrettably, for our Jawans this sort of motivational comfort may not be there Any combat tactician will tell you that the backbone of a military victory lies in the support it draws from home. Alexander counted on it when winning wars thousands of miles from home and even Muslim armies gaining victories in far away lands drew their real strength from the solace of Makkah. With our armed forces now deeply committed in the strongholds of militants (who are hell bent on destroying the Pakistani way of life), the very competence of the government in Islamabad is going to be the key to their success in probably the gravest internal challenge ever to the very existence of Pakistan. The military tactics aside, one would have thought that with so much riding on the present offensive some real smart economic planning must have gone into the overall strategy of fighting this war. For example, how to keep people committed and solidly behind the initiative, estimated number of persons likely to be displaced from different areas during the fighting, funds required and their likely sources to ensure respectable arrangements for the uprooted population, micro-management of funds collection and monitoring of centres established for this purpose, in advance formation of joint private-public managing agencies, re-kindling of ERRA as it already possesses valuable experience in this respect. There should be a clear strategy to bring healthcare and education to the doorstep of these people while they remain in the camps, provide counseling services, set some timeframe sharing (even if exaggerated) as it always helps create goals and resilience, and last but least to make available possible economic opportunities to help these families help themselves Sadly, more than two weeks down the road, apart from a shameless begging spree from foreign friends, one really sees no laudable economic roadmap to help us win this war, especially when by most accounts it is the economic deprivation in these areas that is being exploited by the extremists to trap the local populace. As most economic experts will tell you that in order to help people of the destabilized areas the governments need not necessarily worry about the geography or demography of specific initiatives meant for helping and aiding the local population. That means, to achieve economic prosperity of targeted areas the physical location of the investment itself is important but not mandatory. For example, if development is sought in FATA and circumstances do not allow this in the near term then perhaps the best approach may be to provide opportunities to its people in areas where development is possible. Through remittances or the natural process of finding ethnic roots the benefits will automatically flow back to the desired home base. Are we also doing any planning on these lines? Lastly, it is about time we realised that the governments only job is not to act like an accountant of the IMF. In any case Accountants make lousy CEOs ~ Peter Drucker. What Pakistan needs is a moving economy, an economy focusing back on growth and development with a sensible handle on inflation. At present our economic pot is shrinking and with a failed approach on taming inflation we are in fact failing on both counts: no growth yet high inflation. Ironically, now even the IMF itself is advocating maximizing economy stimulation and encouraging countries to use any available fiscal space for this purpose. The chief Strauss Kahn recently in the London moot actually welcomed the pronounced fiscal easing undertaken by a number of developing economies on IMF clients list The root cause of 'inflation-stubbornness being witnessed in Pakistan lies with the faulty approach vis-a-vis unusually high fuel prices in spite of globally depressed oil rates, inefficient and already too expensive energy supplies to manufacturing and in general a very depressed 'supply-side. In the global management circles the latest buzzword these days is Production Crime, i.e. to have the capacity and still not produce to optimal potential. In a poor country with a grossly high unemployment rate like ours, the present economic policies of the government tantamount to committing a production crime. What we need today is not tax witch-hunting but economic stimulation and liberalisation to create economic opportunities and economic prosperity, because at the end of the day only a prosperous Pakistan will hold the attraction for being worth living or dying for