THE suicide attack on the headquarters of the Anti-Terrorist Squad in Islamabad should serve as a grim reminder to the members of Parliament, currently receiving briefings on security related issues, of the gravity of the situation. The same day a roadside bomb killed at least 11 in Dir, including four girls returning home from school and a suicide bomber blew himself up while trying to target petrol laden tankers at Michni post near the Pak-Afghan border. Besides blowing up a part of the building the suicide bomber in Islamabad blasted the myth of what were being described as the government's extraordinary security arrangements during the in-camera session of Parliament. That the DGMO who is now DG ISI should have briefed the parliamentarians for two days and the army top brass including the COAS should have been present in the House indicates not only the army's concern over the issue but also its recognition of the supremacy of Parliament. It signified that the army seeks both guidance and assistance from Parliament to cope with the tasks assigned to it. While important parliamentarians from both the Treasury and the Opposition remained seated till the end on the second day of the briefing, it was regrettable that quite a few left the House much earlier. One had expected them to come prepared with questions to have a full understanding of the situation on ground. Some of the opposition MPs complained that vital questions had remained unanswered as these were avowedly outside the army's domain and they were told to seek answers from the Interior and Foreign Ministries. These included queries about the rules of engagement agreed upon with Washington, course of action in tribal areas, response to US aggressive actions in Fata and the policy being currently pursued by the government. There were also questions about the functioning of the intelligence agencies. Demands were made by the opposition lawmakers to call General (retd) Musharraf, Foreign and Interior Ministry officials and heads of intelligence agencies to answer their questions. The demand for the provision of full information is understandable. To be able to help the government devise an effective strategy, lawmakers have to assess the situation from all angles. The government would do well to ensure that all those who have access to facts are made available for briefing. The nation expects the opposition also to play a constructive role in formulating a national policy to deal with the threats to the country's integrity. Nothing should be done that can be construed as point-scoring or playing to the crowd. The country cannot afford a continuous state of confrontation between the Government and the Opposition. Both have to join hands and devise a common strategy to steer the nation out of the present quagmire.