Conflicting signals are emanating from the US, especially with reference to Pakistan. They are contradictory enough, laden with all kinds of conspiracy theories, good enough to shake the confidence of the ordinary Pakistani, continuously thinking whether US is an ally, friend or foe, whether it is on our side or the other side, carrying out attacks on our soil without any agreement like an enemy in the pitched darkness of the night. Almost on daily basis as propaganda ploy, we come across reports, originating from US, which are not good for the country's image. If one day a general cast its doubt over Pakistan's future, saying the country's existence is being jeopardised, the other day we find a report published in the US media, again maligning Pakistan, painting darkest kind of scenario for it. In the face of these reports Pakistanis, especially those living abroad follow the journalists with the question if Pakistan's 'future is at stake'. Even the public posture of the US government falls short of assuaging your frayed nerves. This practice has been going unchecked for many years now with our leadership helpless to stop it knowing fully that most of the stories appearing in the media are fed by none other than the US officials. These days we are exposed to verbal barrages also as we witness heated debates between the two presidential candidates. A lot of anti-Pakistan stuff is coming out of these debates, especially how they view Pakistan and how they resolve to tackle the issue of terrorism in Afghanistan along with Pakistan. As US elections draws closer, Pakistan has become a focal point in these debates. The US media is full of reports from Pakistan to portray that the world is still an insecure place, posing threats to US. The people back in Pakistan are not sure which report to take seriously and which to discard as a mere rhetoric part of US election campaign. In order to make amends for its past lapses in Afghanistan and gain some political mileage, the US is involved in direct attacks in Pakistan. 'Pakistan is made scapegoat for the failures of the US coalition forces in the past', rightfully pointed out by one senior Pakistani official. These attacks are meant for the US audience, telling that the Republican government is committed to tackle the problem. The war in the tribal areas is spreading fast and is likely to be intensified in days to come. The new Pakistani government seems to be more committed to flush out the trouble-makers from these unmanned areas along Afghan borders than the previous regime led by Musharraf which was too close to the US leadership. The people of these areas have also joined hands with the government to expel the unwanted elements, which no doubt is a good news for the present leaders. But the backlash of this war could be seen everywhere in Pakistan. Take the example of Marriott blast. The other day ANP leader escaped narrowly an attack from a suicide bomber. The question that is troubling an average Pakistani is what cost Pakistan will have to bear in waging this wart and how long this will continue. The people are rightfully keen to know what is going on in their backyard and what government is doing to sooth their worries. The picture emerging is not very hopeful for the people. Their morale and confidence in the present leadership is dropping with every day. The only ray of hope lies in the economic revival for the inflation hit Pakistanis. President Zardari is seeking an assistance of $ 100 billion from the US-led West. How much of this he is able to manage will be seen in days to come. As we seek foreign help, we hardly see any urgency to find home grown solution to our predicament. These are not ordinary times for the nation. The leaders will have to try new and bold things to come out of the prevailing crisis and instil confidence among the people that they are fully capable of dealing with the situation. We also need to devise a strategy to counter negative propaganda emanating from outside the country. It is also high time for all the political forces to speak with sentiments of oneness. The government also needs a supportive media, especially in crunch times. The government, on its part should shun its business as usual approach and try to resolve public problems on a war footing. Even seen as doing that would please the masses and help in building public confidence. E-mail: