16th December 2021 will mark seven years since the dreadful attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar, which resulted in the death of more than 140 children. In the wake of the deadly attack, policies and action plans were announced, the most important of them being the National Action Plan (NAP). However, progress on the 20 points of the much-hyped NAP revolved around curtailing terrorism, extremism, and sectarianism from the country, among others, seems to have stalled with every passing year. Today, it seems we are standing right where we started. Three of the 20 points of the NAP stated that militant outfits will not be allowed to operate in the country, strict actions will be taken against elements involved in spreading extremism and gave assurances against the re-emergence of proscribed organizations. But, the recent announcements and actions taken by the government seem to have forgotten it all. The revocation of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) proscribed status and declaring a unilateral complete ceasefire with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has put a big question mark on the relevance of NAP. It should not be forgotten that the government officials have repeatedly stated that both TLP and TTP are supported and funded by agencies like India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security. It is no secret that hundreds and thousands of civilians and military personals have laid their lives owing to the menace of extremism and terrorism in the country spanning over decades. To date, Pakistan continues to pay a heavy price combating these evils, both physically and monetarily. In this light, how can agreements be concluded between the State of Pakistan and these organisations? Isn’t it equivalent to committing treason to the blood of the martyrs? What justification will be given to their families? It seems that we as a state are going backwards rather than forward. Policy of appeasement towards rabble-rousers and belligerents has never worked. The tragic incident of the lynching and murder of the Sri Lankan national in Sialkot is yet another reminder of how radicalism and extremism have entrenched themselves in society. In the aftermath, the irresponsible statements given by government ministers to downplay and try to justify the murder can only be termed as pathetic. The horrific tragedy in Sialkot further solidifies the claim that the government does not realise the gravity of the situation, nor the sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan. What makes the situation worse is the fact that instead of highlighting and resolving the underlying roots of extremism, the policymakers have chosen to adopt the ostrich policy, making the state act defensively whenever its writ is challenged. This is one of the reasons which has emboldened figures like the Chief of the TLP to declare himself and his party as the ‘kingmaker’ for the upcoming 2023 general elections. This statement comes after the party was de-proscribed and its leader and workers released from the jails, after holding violent clashes with the police. It should be remembered that in those clashes, four policemen lost their lives and 520 policemen got injured. The current government’s policy of appeasing terrorist organisations has also encouraged TTP to end its month-long ceasefire with the government. The TTP gave a statement stating it was holding negotiations with the government of Pakistan, under the aegis of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” (IEA), but they failed. Even though the Afghan Taliban spokesperson denied this claim and distanced itself from the TTP, it is important to note that the calling off ceasefire by the banned organization signals that they feel audacious and want to negotiate with the State of Pakistan on their own terms. It is a distressing situation, to say the least. It would not be an exaggeration to say that what is happening today is contradictory to the NAP. Instead of following up on the implementation of the NAP and its 20 points, the PTI-led government first announced in 2019 that it was going to unveil NAP 2.0, but it never came to fruition. Dates went past and nothing emerged out of it. As 2021 draws to a close, the government seems to have backtracked on a number of the original NAP’s points. Needless to say, this is a dangerous situation where the government seems clueless and the state blind, on its current policy of dealing with those who challenge the writ of the state. As the sword of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) continues to hang over its head, it should not be forgotten that the country is still on the ‘grey list’ of the international task force. Even though the country has made progress to tackle money laundering and stop terrorist financing networks, any misstep in this regard can prove to be extremely costly for the State of Pakistan in the long run. Civil-military policymakers need to smell the coffee before it is too late. The current government is walking on a dangerous trope of appeasement. History is witness that the policy of appeasement towards rabble-rousers and belligerents has never worked. The state needs to make its presence known and stop giving concessions to those who have challenged its writ, time and again. Pakistan cannot afford another horrendous tragedy like the Army Public School, to gather its whims and devise a strategy to tackle the humongous challenges it is facing. The time to act is now. The writer is a prominent politician, academician, and practitioner in the areas of regional, international defence, and strategic studies. She tweets @SeharKamran.