COAS Ashfaq Parvez Kayani's reiteration of the determination to defend Pakistan's territorial integrity would hopefully provide some reassurance to those in Pakistan who have been baffled and shaken by five attacks by the US forces within the last 10 days. That the statement, like an earlier one, had the endorsement of the corps commanders conference is all the more satisfactory. According to Gen Kayani all elements of national power under the new government will safeguard the territorial integrity of Pakistan with the full support and backing of the people. To ensure the backing of the people there has to be a policy on dealing with militancy and foreign attacks based on national consensus which the government has so far failed to evolve. It is widely recognized that those burning girls' schools, attacking government installations or killing innocent people by launching suicide attacks are somehow to be stopped. It is also realised that no outside force should be permitted to violate Pakistan's territory. It remains however to be spelt out clearly and definitively how the two issues are to be tackled. Soon after it took over the ruling coalition vowed to deal with militancy through a multi-pronged policy but soon left the task to army. As things stand every party in the coalition has its own views regarding how to tackle militancy and respond to the US attacks, with MQM on one extreme and the JUI-F on the other. Under the conditions the political leadership has to play a decisive role by taking all stakeholders on board and resolving their differences. Once a policy has been formulated the government has to ensure that no organ of the state or government functionary deviates from it. As things stand the coalition administration seems to have run short of options. Governor Owais Ghani complains that the allied forces and Taliban are both working on an anti-Pakistan agenda. While asserting that it is only Pakistan's right to take action against militants on its territory, PM Gilani says helplessly the country can't go to war. One expects the government to provide answers to challenges instead of throwing up arms in despair. And now a word for Washington. Despite wishes by many Pakistanis to maintain friendly ties with the US, which is beneficial for both sides, there is a rising tide of public opposition to America's aggressive policies which no elected government can afford to ignore. While the country may not have vast petroleum resources like Venezuela, its people possess, like those in Bolivia and Honduras, an equally vital resource i.e., dignity and self-respect. Unless Washington pays due respect to Pakistan's sovereignty, it may not be long before they force their government to take a direction many countries in South America and other parts of the world are opting for.