The Abbottabad debacle highlights yet again the fact that Pakistan has failed to safeguard its national interests while dealing with the US. Our bewildered and piecemeal responses ceded all space in the opinion forming international media to the US and her allies to the abiding detriment of Pakistan. By the time our disparate, self contradictory, weak, spineless and largely meaningless responses started trickling in, it was already too little, too late and absolutely inadequate. There was no one single unified Pakistani response to the debacle. Thus our national honour, dignity and pride took a nose dive. However Pakistan must now look to the near future which portends ill tidings on the global war on terror. There is no doubt that the next battles in the war on terror will be fought on Pakistani soil as the US has managed to shift the war from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Our cities like Quetta, Karachi and others could be the next battlefields. Incursions in the shape of similar raids (different tactics though) can be expected ostensibly in the search and/or elimination of people like Mullah Umar, Ayman Al Zawahiri, and the like, assuming that they are hiding in our cities. A further likelihood is the planting of US, NATO, ISAF and/or Afghan boots in the NWA to sort out the so-called Haqqani network once and for all - before the US departs from Afghanistan and/or just before the US elections. How do we then plan to respond? Do we have a national response ready for such an eventuality? Do we have a national policy, a whole of Government policy with a clearly defined end state to deal with such situations? Do we have political, diplomatic, military and intelligence responses ready for such eventualities? Do we have clarity of thought and action worked out to deal with such situations? Do all our Government agencies and institutions have clear orders and instructions on how to deal with such contingencies? Can we pre-empt any such action by the US forces through diplomatic, political or even military and intelligence channels? Or will we play it off the cuff in the same haphazard manner as we have done thus far. It is time for us too to come out of our stupor and demonstrate some ability in dealing with such unsavoury events. We must come out with a comprehensive analysis of the Abbottabad debacle and a sharp, mature and proactive National Counter Terrorism and Security Policy clearly enunciating the desired end state. We need to engage the US to redefine the paradigms of our relationship and to ensure that our national interests are safeguarded along with international aspirations in the global war on terror. BRIGADIER (R) IMRAN MALIK, Lahore, May 13.