The second largest Muslim nation in the world, Pakistan, with a population nearing 170 million, should rightly be overwhelmingly conscious of two facts, first that the country is fighting for survival against the Muslim Taliban onslaught, and second that its most loyal and helpful allies are in the English-speaking world, the greatest benefactor being that the country against which much public anger is irrationally spewed, the sole superpower, the mighty USA. Bearing in mind the fact that it is virtually impossible to gauge the opinion of the large mass of the public in a country with a majority of illiterates which, whether or not the leadership and public wish to overtly admit to, happens to be waging a war, can we fairly assume that only part of the population of Pakistan (and Afghanistan since we are now lumped together) are committed supporters of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and their other terrorist accomplices? The Americans are adamant in their belief that what is most hindering their operations in Afghanistan is the presence in Pakistan of the Taliban and related terrorist actors and they are determined to do their bit, since they feel that Pakistan is ill-equipped to do its bit, to root them out and eliminate. They have been clear and unambiguous in telling Pakistan that the drone attacks will continue unabated. As a willing beneficiary of large sums of money, it would seem that Pakistan can either cut its bonds with the US and then face more than mere drone attacks, or knuckle under and make efforts to deal with the Taliban itself and to limit the damage done by the resultant suicide and other bombers within and around Pakistan which the Taliban masterminds have recently threatened to up in number and intensity. Highfalutin 'high-level meetings chaired by the prime minister aimed at, to use journalistic-governmental lingo, 'devising an integrated policy to completely eradicate the scourge of terrorism and extremism from the soil of the country are meaningless as they can achieve nothing. And they are even more meaningless because such meetings in this lawless clueless land are held in plush drawing rooms with the participants lolling around on gilded furniture as if participating in a rather dull social occasion. Photographs of the 'high-level leadership meeting are far from reassuring in fact they are scary. We are all heartily sick of these drawing room petty politics the drawing room scenarios persist even when those from abroad who mean business meet with our lot who obviously do not mean business as they dont know what business entails when it comes to governance and politics. They need to get serious at some point if we are not to slither further down the drain. Following every incident, be it a bomb blast that has killed over a score of citizens, a suicide bomber doing his best for sectarian strife and targeting a mosque, or the video of a female citizen of Pakistan supposedly being flogged by her fellow citizens and relatives, the stock government response is to 'condemn and 'order an enquiry. It stops there, once the condemnation and order are issued, that is the end of the matter until the next incident. There are seldom genuine resolutions. 'Suspects are rounded up by a helpless targeted police force and there the matter stops. The anti-ISI mistrust expressed by the Americans, to which Pakistan has taken great umbrage, should not be surprising. For years, more years than we can count, the impression has been and admitted to both by many in Pakistan and abroad that the ISI was a state within a state, a rogue body out there on its own. If the present army chief, in his less than two years in command, has been able to turn it completely around, he deserves full marks. A throw-away remark quoted last week in the American press, the Philadelphia Inquirer, is indicative of US administrative reaction: When Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen was asked if he thinks Generals Ashfaq Kayani and Ahmed Shuja Pasha are capable of facing up to the combined insurgency, his answer was, 'Yes, I do, but with the caveat, 'Whether or not they do it is another question. The writer is a freelance columnist Email: