PAKISTAN, threatened and coerced into joining the war on terror, finds itself up against a serious predicament. Having been, at one time, called a key ally by the US to seek its cooperation in this questionable enterprise, it is increasingly facing the grim prospect of the violation of its sovereignty, with untold implications. The superpower, facing an unwinnable war that has spawned a new and larger crop of militants and created more enemies than it has eliminated and desperately trying to get out of the deepening quagmire, has, it looks obvious, decided to make Pakistan a scapegoat to save its face, and teach it a lesson to prove a point before the world. Thus, baseless accusations of concealing the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri are being levelled against it, as if their capture would have clinched the issue. Nothing could be more nave than the assumption that the proud and independence-loving Afghans would have given up the fight before the last of them has been killed, if the two top Al-Qaeda leaders had been caught. The most unfortunate part of the story is that Pakistan has adopted a laid-back attitude, and if anyone opens up his mouth he unquestioningly agrees with Washington. The Faisal Shahzad bogey that has been raised to pressurise Islamabad into taking up the cudgel on US behalf more forcefully and move the army into North Waziristan is a case in point. And Secretary Clintons warning of severe consequences and Attorney General Eric Holder of taking appropriate action against militants if Pakistan failed to do so, are the convenient tactics to build the pressure. The latest to respond to the American pressure for launching a military operation in North Waziristan is Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt-General Sardar Mahmood Ali Khan. Instead of plainly telling off the US that the mission was uncalled for and that Pakistan would not repeat the mistake of South Waziristan, he talks of moving into the Agency in our own time when adequate resources are available. That is roughly the same language, which was used before starting the campaign in South Waziristan. There is little doubt left that the army, whom General Khan represents, has accepted the US contention that the incidents like that of Shahzad are a legitimate ground for undertaking this dangerous exercise, not realising that the policy of killing our own people is suicidal. Pakistan must see the writing on the wall: in the backdrop of a wrecked economy, mounting public discontent at inflation and a host of other problems, the prolonged involvement of the army in military campaigns would so weaken the country as to render it easily vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation. With an enemy around, always on the lookout for such an opportunity, we have to wake up before it is too late