Islamabad: Terror must not be allowed to win, said a leading Pakistani daily following a terror attack at a university that left over 20 people dead, and called for a resolve to fight terror.
An editorial "University attack" in the Dawn on Thursday said that once again Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is reeling; in fact, Pakistan itself is under attack.
"The savagery at Bacha Khan University makes the heart sink and evokes deep despair. Monstrous as the Taliban are and have been, the determination with which they kill children and young adults comes as a shock each time.
"The carnage in Charsadda may not be on the scale of the Army Public School attack, but the intentions were the same - to deliberately, monstrously and wretchedly strike at the most vulnerable and to spread anger and fear far and wide," it said.
The daily said: "They must not be allowed to win."
"A greater resolve exists - that of the Pakistani people and the state that represents them - and it will prevail against the banned TTP. But there should be no illusions.
"This is a long war. It will not be won in a month or a year. It will be many years before Pakistan can truly be rid of the militant curse. But that reality does not mean immediate steps cannot be taken."
It noted that the time has come for Pakistan to "stop merely talking about better border management and demanding the eradication of militant safe havens in Afghanistan, and get serious work done on both fronts".
"Fifteen years since a new war came to Afghanistan and FATA is a long enough period to force some change. The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has always been porous. But must it remain so?"
The editorial went on to say that this frontier "should not be turned into another India-Pakistan border - virtually sealed and the source of potentially deadly tensions".
Describing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border as "an anachronism", the daily said it was a colonial inheritance that has been both a buffer against and a base for projecting power into Afghanistan.
It noted that the Army Public School attack triggered a violent reaction that ought to have been resisted. What separates the militants from the state, what makes the two so fundamentally different and the latter worth defending, is the rule of law and individual rights.
"The death penalty does not deter terrorism. In fact, it can act as a propaganda tool for the militants as a contested claim of the responsibility for the Charsadda attack attests. Finally, the Bacha Khan University and the day of the attack do not appear to have been selected randomly."