Findings of research conducted by Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies highlights that the country’s battle against militancy is far from over. The research also reaffirms that the only viable way to proceed in this battle is through regional cooperation — with neighbouring Afghanistan, India, and Iran — and efforts to find a political solution to the insurgency in Balochistan. The findings show that in absolute terms, the number of terrorist attacks declined in 2017, compared to 2016. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remained the greatest threat to internal security, though the researchers have also cautioned about the increasing footprint of the Islamic State (IS) in the country. In terms of number of attacks, Baloch dissident groups were the second most potent threat in 2017. The country’s borders on both sides saw a surge in unrest in 2017. The ministries of internal security, national defence and foreign affairs need to step up their efforts and enhance coordination. To effectively counter the threat of militancy, a two-pronged approach is needed. Engagement with neighbours, to ensure that insurgents cannot find refuge across the border in Afghanistan and peace prevails along the eastern border. This must be complimented with efforts — already underway since a few years — to neutralise militants’ organisational network. Furthermore, it is necessary that a clear distinction is maintained between the TTP, IS and other radical Islamist groups and Baloch dissidents. The latter’s grievances are rooted in historical distortions in the relationship between the centre and provinces. The grievances that have led to the insurgency can, and must, be redressed. Once the cause has been taken care of, the effect will automatically wither away. Radical Islamists, on the contrary, stand opposed to the country’s constitution as well as the vision provided for it by the founding fathers. They cannot be engaged with until they agree to live and let others live in accordance with the social contract put in place in the constitution. * Published in Daily Times, January 9th 2018.