THE Defence Committee of the Cabinet is set to meet today, with Prime Minister Yousaf Reza Gilani in the chair, and with the Chief of Army Staff in attendance, with the contents of the investigative report in response to the Indian dossier on the Mumbai attacks on the agenda. There are two aspects to the DCC meeting. First, and more immediate, is the response that will be made to India over the Mumbai attacks. Second, there will be the more institutional question of whether the DCC is indeed a replacement for the National Security Council, the body which the Musharraf regime set up, and which has been part of the project to control the civilian part of government ever since the Zia regime, when the idea was first introduced, but soon shot down. The two issues are inter-related, as the DCC meeting is being held on the same day that US Special Representative to the region, Richard Holbrooke, is on the Islamabad leg of his first visit to the region. The Council, which has much the same membership as the DCC, except that it also has representation from Parliament and the service chiefs are statutory, and thus equal members, and the President presides, not the PM, has difficulties in meeting in the absence of a National Security Adviser, a post vacant since the dismissal of Mahmud Ali Durrani, who is unlikely to be replaced, having created problems of coordination that even the Army did not appreciate. Apart from these institutional issues, the DCC meeting is also supposed to work out Pakistan's response to the Indian dossier. This meeting is also likely to make the Foreign Ministry the ministry responsible for speaking about the report, and though the PM's Interior Adviser Rahman Malik has also been summoned for the meeting, he has been publicly snubbed by the Prime Minister for his statements on the issue. The government should speak with one voice on this issue, which threatens the peace of South Asia. Hopefully, this should be the most important outcome of the DCC meeting.