A military regime hands over power mostly to the political leadership when the junta becomes extremely unpopular due to its mismanagement, leaving the country at the disposal of the popular leaders to face the music as being faced by the PPP government and its new leaders at the moment. As they were looking for a bail-out in the face of economic meltdown, with their eyes fixed mainly on US, a country that could come to their rescue as an ally, it started raiding our border areas instead of 'bombarding' it with aid . US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen made a very blunt and callous statement that the US has included Pakistan in its war theatre in Afghanistan. With this came a report that US President has most conveniently authorised its troops to conduct raids in Pakistan, probably without thinking about its contribution in war against terror as frontline ally of the US. The reaction of Army Chief Kayani was swift, telling the US government that Pakistan reserved the right to retaliate in the face of any aggression. The Pakistani people yet again dismayed by US government liked the way he stood up to US unilateral action and aggression. They applauded as the Pakistani fighter planes chased out US drones the other day. So far the political leadership appeared to stand right behind the military top brass, given full mandate to wage war against terror in the tribal areas and along the Afghan borders whatever way they like. Most unfortunately, the US strikes came when the new government has put in place quite successfully a new strategy to cleanse the trouble spots in the Northern Areas. We saw within days the outlaws controlling the tribal belt were on the run or crushed. The other day we saw the army cleansing Bajour Agency in which 100 militants got killed. Along with the military operation, we also witnessed the readiness of the local people to fight out the outlaws and militants challenging the writ of state, which is a great success of new civilian government. This indicates people's faith in the new set up. We learnt that more and more jirgas are being constituted to fight these militants with people asking the government to provide them arms. This also shows that our military and other law enforcing agencies are fully capable of dealing with unwanted elements provided there is a will on the part of top leadership, missing earlier during Musharraf rule. During the last eight years we saw the tendency to prolong the problem to show the world the inevitability of Musharraf. The new situation created by the US strikes and Pakistani leadership's decision to counter such raids is quite perplexing for the new government in Pakistan, promising to put the country back on the path of progress and prosperity. The people are not sure if the US is serious this time or its new policy is a part of pressure tactics goading Pakistan to do more. On the other hand if Pakistani military leadership is serious to retaliate then that means we are at war with US. Out of this confusion, one thing is certain that all is not well between Pakistan and US governments. It also shows that both Pentagon and military top bras in Pakistan do not enjoy the same equation any more which had been the hallmark of their relations since 9/11 in which the later got unprecedented freedom of movement in Pakistan. Of late, we also found the US government not trusting Pakistan, which is evident from its unwillingness to share intelligence with Pakistani authorities. It has been crying foul against Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, the ISI, and wants its wings to be clipped by the new civilian government. We also witness the US banking more on India and Afghanistan for advice in the war against terror. Both countries have their own axe to grind, especially against Pakistan. In this background, the visit of Asif Zardari UK and US would be very important. It is to be seen whether Mr. Zardari will be able to prevail upon the leadership of both the countries to trust Pakistan. The coming months are very important in which US Presidential election will be held. The Republican government in the US is desperate to make some gains and advances in Afghanistan to improve the position of its candidate back home, even at the cost of Pakistan. In the light of this scenario Pakistan will have to tread carefully. Again, we need to give a strong message to the world that the government has full control over tribal areas and that it no longer is a no man's land as it used to be for decades-a perfect hideout for the criminals challenging the writ of the government most freely. E-mail: nadeemsyed@nation.com.pk