In a single day, about sixty-two persons were killed and more than hundred were wounded in terrorist incidents across Pakistan. Heartless terrorists carried out these well orchestrated attacks, mostly against soft targets, in Quetta, Parachinar, and Karachi. The vehicle based IED (VBIED) attack in Quetta was claimed by both the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, (TTP) and the local chapter of the Islamic State. These groups have been active for the last two years and have claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist incidents, especially in Balochistan. Terrorists have struck Quetta and Parachinar several times over the last few years. The last bomb blast took place on 31st March 2017 outside an imambargah at a market in Parachinar, which killed at least 22 people and wounded 50 others. Two months earlier, a terrorist attack occurred in Parachinar on 21st January 2017 which killed at least 25 and injured 87. On 15th December 2015, a bomb hidden in a bag ripped through a crowded bazaar in Parachinar, killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 30. Is it a coincidence that whenever a terrorist attack takes place in Lashkargah, Helmand, Afghanistan, terrorist attacks occur immediately in Parachinar? It happened in January 2017 and again after the attack in Lashkargah, Helmand on the 22nd of June. There seems to be a connection between the two. Circumstantial evidence indicates that the Afghan NDS and India’s RAW plan and execute attacks in Parachinar through the TTP miscreants. India and Afghanistan, knowing that Parachinar is mired in sectarian turmoil, try to rope in Iran to fish in the troubled waters. Although Iran at times takes the bait, its leadership has the sanity to honour the commitments of neighbourhood. Afghanistan has recently experienced frequent attacks by the Taliban, and the weak and fragmented Afghan government finds it convenient to blame Pakistan for these attacks. Conversely, the Afghan government has sheltered TTP elements in Kunar and Nouristan who keep attacking Pakistan. According to reports, TTP elements are trained and funded by Afghan intelligence officials and India’s RAW to inflict pain on Pakistan. Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Afghan National Security Adviser Haneef Atmar are known for their venomous approach towards Pakistan, and in the former’s case, towards China as well. The duo together undermines all efforts to improve Pakistan’s relations with their countries. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has given new reasons to Pakistan’s enemies to gang up against Pakistan. India, scared of China’s growing influence in the area, and the Afghan government, too frail to handle the Taliban onslaught, blame and malign Pakistan to mislead the US and the West. Terrorism is adopting new shapes, alliances and strategies in Pakistan. The intense war waged by internal actors like the TTP based in Pakistan and Afghanistan is funded, supported and strategised by hostile countries and intelligence agencies. The phenomenon needs to be studied keenly and counter strategies need to be formulated accordingly since it is going to be a long battle. Though the enormity of external factors and pressures is palpable, our security planners must give priority to the security problem emanating from the inside. Home-grown terrorists and insurgents in Pakistan are the actual existential threat. They become readily available tools of destruction in the hands of external enemies. Once they are neutralised, the external enemies’ designs to operate through these elements will be defeated. The fight against these elements cannot be won unless the ocean of religious extremism and intolerance across Pakistan is dealt with. We have been unable to counter the skewed religious narrative of extremists. Even the mainstream religio-political parties are strong vehicles of this narrative that provides succour to terrorism. Terrorism is a complex phenomenon, which surreptitiously but effectively bites at the roots. We cannot revel in the satisfaction that the TTP has been flushed out of Waziristan and the frequency of terrorist incidents has gone down. The problem is still very much there. The National Action Plan (NAP) which was formulated with much fervour to tackle terrorism in Pakistan has paled into a lustreless routine activity because of a lack of strategy, cohesiveness, resolve and resources. Besides, the ever-growing political polarisation has sapped the energy and attention of the main stakeholders. They must realise that internecine schisms will adumbrate bigger disasters in the form of a return of terrorism in all cities. Postscript: Our foreign policy makers ought to sensitise the US leadership that the causes and cures offered by Lisa Curtis and Hussain Haqqani (A New US Approach to Pakistan: Enforcing Aid Conditions without Cutting Ties) are neither the whole truth nor the sanest solutions to the problem. The writer is Honorary Director Centre for Peace and Security Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore. MA International Security, War Studies Department, King’s College London His twitter account: N Elahi @Aaibak Published in Daily Times, July 4th , 2017.