One faction is calling for a military operation against militant extremists. The other is insistent on holding peace-talks with the terrorists to resolve matters. The PML-N falls in neither of the two categories. The ruling party is unable to take any decision over the course that must be followed to eradicate terrorism from the country. Before - and perhaps still - it relied on the proposal made by the APC. It was easy. Ownership of the proposed plan was shared. If it turned out to be a blunder, everyone would look like a fool, not just the PML-N. Do what everyone agrees with. No leadership or statecraft required there. Now, with the failure of its attempts to hold negotiations with terrorist groups clearly visible from the spike in the violent campaign against the common people and security forces, it’s time to take another decision. Possibly, different from the previous one. The people are growing impatient by the passing minute. The media keeps mounting pressure. Inaction is being noticed, and lamented across the country. The political divide is still clear as ever. What to do? Where to go from here? A paralysis has set in, and the PML-N just doesn’t seem to be able to shake it off.

The Parliamentary Party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ended with nothing significant coming out of it. The claims regarding an overwhelming number of members speaking in support of a military action are exaggerated. Even if they were true, the unity and clarity was nowhere to be seen in the Parliament session. Confusion and indecisiveness still reign supreme, and the leader of the house, it appears, is aiming for the record of worst attendance rate ever. During the previous 8 months, the PM has only come to the Parliament twice. Where does the real strength of a democratically elected Prime Minister lie? Nowhere more than the Parliament. It is this very institution that validates his position and his decisions. It is where policies are presented, scrutinized, and opponents are taken into confidence before implementation. But such is the disdain for being answerable, and the unwillingness to take a clear stand, that the PM has deemed it best to not show up at all. The clock is ticking. He can only delay for so long.

The opposition is busy blaming the government for all that is wrong under the sun, while actively contributing towards nothing more than confusing issues. Blind and oblivious to the killing of hundreds after the government’s offer of talks to the TTP, they want the government to ‘try harder’. The PPP, however, has offered assurances of full support to the government in the unlikely event that it decides to act. Mere political posturing or sincere intentions by the former ruling party, time will reveal.

Regardless, the government must gather its wits, and do what needs to be done.