WHAT had been a slow infiltration by US operatives into Quetta has finally surfaced into a widespread movement which has become overt as a result of a large-scale renting of properties in expensive residential areas of the provincial capital. The operation has come into the opening because of the fortifications and surveillance systems that are now traditionally operationalised by the Americans residing in different parts of Pakistan. However, it is unfortunate that the federal and provincial governments have not restricted this US access into a sensitive part of the country, especially when we know what the US end goal is here, apart from the destabilisation of the regime in Iran through Balochistan. The US has been seeking to discover the so-called Quetta Shura of the Taliban. With the US now resigned to having a dialogue with the Afghan Taliban and of recognising that any future post-withdrawal set up would have to include the Taliban, it is still determined to undermine Pakistans role in any future Afghan settlement. On this count, the Indians seem to have been fairly successful, as can also be witnessed by the suspiciously timed BBC-LSE report on the alleged Pakistani state-Taliban linkage and the story that was printed in the UK media on Sunday. The Pakistan Army has termed this report part of a malicious propaganda against Pakistans security and intelligence set up and the intent is clear to anyone without US blinkers But what seems to have been missed by the army and the government is the fact that this story has come in the wake of the Pakistani demand made for information sharing to the US and India on their joint interrogation of the American suspect in the Mumbai terrorism case. Another connecting thread is the bringing in of the President of Pakistan also into the conspiracy theory so as to malign the entire leadership of Pakistan in the hope that this will add to the pressure on the countrys leadership to do more again It is time the GoP moved with determination in restricting US access to our cities, where their very presence, their suspicious activities and their total disregard for the law of the land, pose a security threat to the citizens. We certainly cannot afford a US Consulate in Quetta given the implications of such a move - not only for Pakistan but for our neighbouring friend Iran. For how long will the government of Pakistan put its citizens lives in danger simply to appease the US? Nor should one be fooled by the US efforts to appease Pakistan by asking Pakistan and India to move towards finding a viable framework for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute. If the US was serious on this count it would realise that the UNSC resolutions centring on a plebiscite already provide the only viable settlement mechanism. So all the US has to do is push its strategic ally India into accepting this reality.