I have no doubt that the army chief before agreeing to the difficult decision of launching the Operation against elements backed, trained, equipped and financed by foreign powers and challenging the writ of the state and the armed forces, must have cautioned the government about its part of the crucial role in managing the fallout of such an operation, while at the same time ensuring a timely exit strategy for the army which should not be allowed to be bogged down in a protracted internal campaign at the cost of vigil and preparedness against the real enemies of the state, neighbouring Pakistan on its eastern borders. Pakistan on its part, must clearly define and have the enemy in full view, rather than let it be obscured in the deliberately created mist of first Al-Qaeda, then Taliban in Afghanistan and now Pakistani Taliban being lumped together and labelled as terrorists. Our campaign against terrorism should be confined to achieving our own national goals, and not to serve as blindfolded proxies for external aspirants in the region. We must delineate terrorists and miscreants from the good name of Taliban meant to be seekers of Gods guidance and mercies, who were being schematically brought into disrepute by painting an irresponsible picture of them. Having said that, for genuine Taliban one has to warn them of falling foul and failing to distance themselves aggressively from enemy agents and self-seekers infiltrating into their ranks. Equally responsible, are the countrys religious parties who have only paid lip service and played no part in frustrating the pollution of the good name and intent of the God-fearing Taliban who ought to have been counselled to try fashioning Islamic social system in the country with the force of the ballot rather than the baton, bayonet or the bullet. We should together unmask and segregate those playing into enemy hands and working for them, from the ones rightly struggling for enforcement of Shariah and seeking to stem the tide of liberalism and moral turpitude fast eating into the fibre of our society through planned cultural invasion of our Muslim value system. The Pakistan armed forces have been on the receiving end most of the time ever since independence, due largely to inept and opportunist political leadership after the early departure of the Quaid-i-Azam from the scene, and 'some ambitious army generals seizing power time and again, stunting the growth of a durable political system in the country, tainting and compromising the reputation of its valiant armed forces once considered to be in the vanguard of the Muslim fraternity, and in the process severely denting the countrys domestic and international image. This has also provided opportunities to imperial forces, to further their agenda in the region by supporting a convenient one-window operation, be it through an army general or a weak civilian government. Granted that in a genuine government of the people, the role of the armed forces should be that of compliance with its edicts and orders, and not to dabble in politics. With a proactive judiciary now in the saddle, perhaps things would fall in place sooner, but in a situation where the government by its own measure, continues to betray its mandate and God forbid takes on the judiciary, one would hate to see the chief of army make sense prevail among the political government yet again. If the president continues to wield all power and the Parliament remains an ineffective rubber-stamp, which has been exemplified by the care-too-hoots attitude of the US, to Pakistans parliamentary resolutions against drone attacks. Coming out badly bruised from the last military rule and misadventure by Musharraf, General Kayani was quick to act and repair the armys image by distancing himself from any personal ambition, and not only advising the army but actually reverting it to its noble role as the defenders of the geographical frontiers of the nation. For perhaps the first time, an army chief on the Independence Day eve amid the young passing out cadets at Kakul boosting their morale, rather than attending a Convention Centre informal government function. The image of Pakistan armed forces as the only surviving credible state institution and the true guardians of the State of Pakistan has been further strengthened by the chiefs role in restoration of the superior judiciary. But the people are very concerned and circumspect about the quagmire, in which the armed forces have been landed by our spineless civil and military rulers of the recent past at the insistence of the US, allowing them bases and facilities on Pakistani soil beyond their asking, and performing as mercenaries in exchange for crumbs and peanuts, and failing to make the world attend to the root cause of terrorism emanating from exploitation of the weak and the poor by the affluent and the developed. It is now an open secret that the US, having been defeated in its ill-advised eight-year campaign in Afghanistan, of which its leadership is now admitting tacitly, it has decided to shift the war theatre to Pakistan, and rather than risk its own lives and reputation, put Pakistanis on the alter. Having failed to make inroads into the ISI by suggesting its reformation, by initially requiring it to be taken out of army control, blaming its serving and retired generals of supporting insurgents, and who knows, even having tried to infiltrate its ranks, it now has its eyes set on weakening our impregnable tribal belt and the image and resolve of our fighting men, which are an eye-soar for them. The army has acted upon the call of civil administration, for what was declared to be establishing the writ of the government. The men in khaki have delivered admirably and swiftly, much to the surprise of those who actually prepared ground and created the scenario for the inevitable operation to involve our forces in a protracted engagement. The valiant forces have in fact gone an extra mile beyond the call of their duty, to help the civil administration in the rehabilitation process. It is now time for the political leadership to play a proactive role in effecting a grand reconciliation, by engaging the waylaid and misdirected individuals and groups in Malakand, FATA and Balochistan, besides ensuring honourable rehabilitation of the IDPs. Plain and simple, if we can loose sleep over resuming dialogue and the so-called CBMs with our eternally ill-intentioned neighbour India, why should we not talk to our own people, howsoever waylaid, programmed or poisoned they might have been against the state? We need to expose to the world through credible forums and intense diplomacy, the gory plot by the CIA-RAW-MOSSAD nexus, the KGB which never forgave us for our role against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and ironically even by Afghanistans RAAM (previously KHAD) against our nation. Least of all did one expect such ungratefulness from Afghanistan, who we fought for and are still playing host to over three million of their nationals, who fled the war. Unfortunately on the contrary, it is India which has been able to agitate and win world sympathy and support over tailored acts of espionage and terror against Pakistan, be it the Delhi Parliament or the Bombay attacks, whereas Pakistan, despite incontrovertible evidence of Indian involvement in countrywide terror plotting, funding and training laid bare at in-House forums, continues to be sheepish and apologetic, at best asking the Americans to help resolve our issues with India. It is no coincidence that every time an American leader visits India, it is ready with some stage-managed act, or reasserts its trumped up charges against Pakistan, in order to divert and digress from the real issues bedevilling relations between the two countries. The unresolved issue of Kashmir which Obama had underlined for solution soon after assuming office, has been successfully shoved under the carpet by India, who with such theatrics, while crying wolf on so-called terrorism, has speeded up its decades long persecution of the people of Jammu and Kashmir through its seven hundred thousand troops, dwarfing the atrocities of the allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, while choking Pakistans share of waters flowing out of Indian held Kashmir. The civilised world conveniently chooses to look the other way on such brash violation of human dignity, as if nothing had happened. Anyone with elementary commonsense, would take these incidents with a pinch of salt, as Pakistan cannot be so foolish as to provide the sly neighbour with a ready handle to beat with. Without looking the adversary in the eye, is certainly not how you can safeguard your integrity and sovereignty, more so, when Pakistans dicey strategic ally overseas, misses no opportunity to embarrass Pakistan, the recent one being Hillary Clintons absurd aspersion that planners of 9/11 were in Pakistan. Unless she meant the US itself, which was present all over Pakistan, if such unfounded pressure tactics do not end, there has to be a time to call a spade, a spade. The US must no longer indulge in conjecturing and must come forth with concrete evidence about such aspersions, or else mind its words in future. This is not the way Pakistan should expect to be paid back for owning an alien war. As a consequence of plunging headlong into this thankless American campaign at its cost and peril and dragging it into our own backyard, Pakistan has suffered an opportunity loss in trade, commerce and tourism, plus damage to its national assets, of about five to six billion dollars per annum over the last eight years, bringing the bill to about 45 billion dollars, which Pakistan must demand of the US and its allies to pay upfront before we went any further on this one-sided cooperation. From the very start, there ought to have been no free meals on either side, and what Kerry-Lugar Bill has currently offered is really peanuts, besides forcing us down on our knees with our begging bowl to the IMF on its terms. Having pushed Pakistan into a head-on battle against extremists, the world response to this engineered human displacement in the Frontier province has been pathetic and shameful. It only proves that you cannot count and survive on stilts, but your own indigenous effort and resources. Unless we break the begging bowl, tighten our belts by setting examples at the top, and tap indigenous resources, we are destined to be doomed. Peoples patience is brewing over the brims and will not wait another five years to correct their mistake of voting such leadership into power, which deserts their mandate. It was time that the political leadership saw the writing on the wall. The interior minister says he had told both India and Afghanistan about Indian involvement in Pakistani Balochistan. So has the Pakistani premier to his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned in Sharm El-Sheikh. It remains to be seen what impression it has made. As for Hillarys remarks, there ought to have been protest at a higher level, rather than merely a meek Foreign Office press clarification. Incidentally, while often counselling its citizens to keep off Pakistani soil, what has prompted the US to suddenly increase its diplomatic and military presence in this country? And what exactly is 'Blackwater doing in Peshawar? The writer is a freelance columnist