The barbarous targeted attack on helpless children has done what a decade of terrorism couldn't -- Pakistan reacted venomously. The outpouring of grief for the victims and their families from across the country, the region and world has changed the very paradigm of how terrorism has been tackled by the government.
Moral and intellectual clarity about the world we live in are not compatible with self-exculpating glibness. Our adversaries' wrongness does not mean we are in the right. The substance of the terrorists' victory lies exactly in their success in having persuaded Western societies to empower our own authoritarian regimes.
The policy of allowing militant groups to operate on Pakistani soil has proved disastrous. The jihadi militants do not accept the neat divisions between global, regional and local conflicts. Once they are convinced of the righteousness of their cause, they are willing to fight and blow themselves up anywhere. Rising militancy coupled with a significant decline in the capacity of the state has enabled Pakistan-based jihadi groups to wreak havoc not only in India and Afghanistan but also in Pakistan and its friendly neighbors, Iran and China.