Pakistan appears to be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. There is chaos prevailing within the country; terror attacks against the security agencies, accusations by its allies of not doing enough to combat terror, its security agencies maligned of double dealing, the economic meltdown adding to the woes and predictions of doom and gloom adding to the sense of impending disaster. One only has to glimpse through various headlines in the international media to get a whiff of our predicament. "Pakistan: The Most Dangerous Country?" - Information Clearing House; "5 Killed in 'Taliban' Gunbattle With Pakistan Police" - AP; "US Kills 3 People In Pakistan" - KuNA; "Violence breaks out in SW Pakistan after 3 nationalist leaders killed" - Xinhua; "Policeman killed in Pakistan riots" - AFP; "Taliban kill Pakistan soldier in ambush: officials" - AFP; "21 killed in militants-police clashes as Taliban enter Buner district in northwest Pakistan" - Asian Tribune; "Pakistan drone attacks to intensify, Obama officials say" - The Christian Science Monitor; "Peace deal in Swat set to collapse" - Gulf News. These are all headlines of but one day. Now scrutinise some ominous predictions; David Kilcullen, a former adviser to top US military commander General David Petraeus and an expert on counter-insurgency, stated in the US media: "Pakistan is 173 million people, 100 nuclear weapons, an army bigger than the US army, and Al-Qaeda headquarters sitting right there in the two-thirds of the country that the government doesn't control. The Pakistani military and police and intelligence service don't follow the civilian government; they are essentially a rogue state within a state. We're now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state." A recent report by a task force of the Atlantic Council in the United States led by former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts stated: "We are running out of time to help Pakistan change its present course toward increasing economic and political instability, and even ultimate failure." The report, released in February, gave the Pakistani government six to 12 months before things went from bad to dangerous. Talking of drone attacks, if media reports are to be believed, of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted Al-Qaeda leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. Success percentage: 6 percent. Casualties: 701 killed, including 14 Al-Qaeda leaders. Two strikes carried out in 2006 had killed 98 civilians while three attacks conducted in 2007 had slain 66 Pakistanis, yet none of the wanted Al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders could be hit by the Americans right on target. However, of the 50 drone attacks carried out between January 29, 2008 and April 8, 2009, 10 hit their targets and killed 14 wanted Al-Qaeda operatives. Number of Pakistani civilians killed: 537, in which 385 people lost their lives in 2008 and 152 people were slain in the first 99 days of 2009 (between January 1 and April 8). Baitullah Mehsud continues to wreak havoc on Pakistan on behalf of his mentors with his highly sophisticated communication network, state-of-the-art weaponry and endless flow of funds. The Indian lobby on Capitol Hill has successfully managed to have two clauses incorporated into a bill moved in the US House of Representatives on April 2, seeking to provide $1.5 billion of annual assistance to Pakistan for a period of five years. Clause (J) of the bill, called the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement or the PEACE Act of 2009, requires Pakistan "not to support any person or group that conducts violence, sabotage, or other activities meant to instil fear or terror in India." This means that Pakistan will have to ban all Kashmir groups involved in the armed struggle in the valley against India. Clause (K) of the bill binds Pakistan to ensure access of US investigators to "individuals suspected of engaging in worldwide proliferation of nuclear materials, and restrict such individuals from travel or any other activity that could result in further proliferation." If adopted, the act would enable US investigators to seek direct access to Dr A Q Khan and other members of his group accused of providing nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. This has come on the heels of the news that a group has been arrested in the UK under the anti-terrorism laws. Of the twelve arrested, eleven are holders of Pakistani passports and UK-issued student visas. The twelfth is British born but of Pakistani origin. This has put Pakistan under renewed pressure. Additional confirmation of Indian involvement in the Liberty, Manawan attacks came from the CCPO Lahore, who said that solid evidence is now available linking Indian machinations in the gory plot. The leadership of a beleaguered Pakistan will have to take some tough decisions in the near future as to how far they can bend to international demands without compromising Pakistan's security and sovereignty? Friends and allies are temporary but national interests are permanent The writer is a political and defence analyst