The US response in the wake of Mumbai attacks must be an eye-opener for the Pakistani leadership coming to the grip of the great game played in its backyard slowly and steadily. The signals coming from US officials are once again disturbing for the entire nation which has witnessed a whole-hearted cooperation from Pakistan with the US government in the War on Terror. The other day US Senator John McCain was in the city leading a high-powered delegation. During his short stay here he met PML(N)'s top man Nawaz Sharif and addressed a select gathering. The message he brought was loud and clear for everybody depending upon the US. "There is enough evidence of involvement of ISI in the planning and execution of Mumbai attacks and if Pakistan did not act fast on those involved India will be left with no other option but to conduct aerial operations against select targets in Pakistan". As to what will be the US response if India presses ahead with these strikes against Pakistan he said without mincing words "Washington would not be able to do much". No wonder as he departed for US, the threat of war between the two nuclear neighbours raised its head once again, with talk of surgical strikes from India gaining currency in Pakistan. Earlier, the US Secretary of State visited Pakistan and delivered a similar message to Pakistani government. Pakistan has supported US government for the last eight or nine years in the War on Terror as no independent could have imagined, giving US officials unprecedented freedom of movement in Pakistan the consequences of which are for everybody to see now, along with pledging a vast army towards the Western borders subservient to the US interests in the region. After doing all this, the Pakistani government expected at least a fairer deal from the US when the crisis erupted in the relations between Pakistan and India than the approach it adopted ever since the strikes of Mumbai. From the very start of the crisis the US government adopted one-sided approach. We witnessed US media highlighting Indian claims. We found its officials more supportive to the Indian viewpoint. Of more recently, we saw the top US leaders mounting pressure on Pakistan to act fast and resolutely to help India. Here we see the interests of US and India converge. Hence, US government appears to be more active than even Indian government in persuading Pakistan to comply with the wishes of its neigbour before it gets too late. As if the Mumbai attacks provided the US another opportunity to accomplish its agenda in the region, especially the agenda it has kept in mind for Pakistan . Though the US government is out to mediate between the two rivals, it is doing the exactly opposite, complicating the situation rather than defusing the tension between Pakistan and India. No effort is being made to nudge the two countries towards a negotiated settlement of the long-drawn out disputes raging between the two sides. For the lasting peace in the region, it is important for both the countries to settle the Kashmir dispute. It is this dispute which breeds mistrust between the two countries and bring them face-to-face every now and then. Meanwhile, hats off to the new democratic government of Pakistan People's Party. It is learning its ropes quickly without succumbing to the pressure brought about by India and US government. It has made all the right moves so far including the holding of first-ever National Security Conference. The message came out after the show was that the entire nations stands behind the government, its military and even ISI which is bone of contention in this fresh row. The new leadership made it amply clear that civilian government and military leadership are one on this issue. The other day Prime Minister held a series of meetings with all the important stakeholders including the Army Chief, the DG ISI and the Foreign and Defence Ministers. The message emanated from these interactions too was loud and clear: Pakistan will not be lying low in case of any aggression from India. No doubt these are difficult times for the Pakistan which would have to tread carefully in the days to come. The government needs to re-evaluate its policies vis--vis the War on Terror and its relations with the US. E-mail: