TRUE to form, the Pakistani leadership has once again demonstrated its degrading tendency to lean against the US, asking it for favours that it is disinclined to grant. Prime Minister Gilani chose to request for a civilian nuclear deal, the like of which the Bush Administration had struck with India, when he met President Obama on Sunday. This demand has come yet again, even though American officials, right from top to bottom, have already categorically told us off on the issue. Taking up the repeatedly rejected demand, knowing full well that it would not be accepted again, makes Mr Gilanis pleas all the more humiliating, both for him and the nation as a whole. Reportedly, Mr Obama also expressed disappointment over our principled stand on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, while assuring us that the US had no sinister designs against our nuclear assets. Under the circumstances, it was idle to expect that Mr Obama would accept our request for help in the nuclear context to get over the crippling power shortages we have been facing for more than two years. It must be realised that though Mr Obamas honest and straightforward image had initially symbolised hope for the Muslim world, it now represents a mixture of compromises and biases, which have dissipated that hope. The US made a strategic decision to strengthen India to serve as a watchdog of its interests in the region, before coming forward to offering it the so-called civilian nuclear assistance; the emerging clout of China in the world rankled in its flesh like a thorn, and the challenge needed to be met at the regional level. New Delhi was quick to make its services available. Thus, the blatant disregard of the provisions of the NPT that the US, ironically, asks weaker nations to strictly adhere to. Since Pakistan is not expected to serve that purpose, it is not likely to get the same facility. If the Obama-Gilani meeting reached the conclusion that the US-Pakistan bilateral relations have to be raised to new heights, as Foreign Minister Qureshi has said, it should be clear to Pakistan that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and visible reduction of the terrorist threat would see the ties losing those heights. By then, Islamabad would have served the US purpose. The strategic relationship that it claims to be developing with Pakistan cannot exclude our dire need of energy security; while the US-favoured pipeline from Turkmenistan to meet our power needs is virtually a non-starter in the present disturbed conditions. Islamabad must get out of its fascination of the US and the West and see where the countrys interests lie. Nor should the power crisis, that is worsening an already grave socio-economic turmoil be made to fester when, fortunately, friendly nations, like Iran, China and Turkey are ready to extend their help. We should not dillydally.