The familiar 'do more demand, which, for obvious reasons, is anathema to Pakistanis, was once again on the lips of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she interacted with the audience at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Thursday. Her utterance looks bizarre when read with other American officials views expressed on various occasions, including her own. The most recent was of US Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Hollbrooke in conversation with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday; he stated that the US was satisfied with Islamabads cooperation in the war on terror. If an abortive incident like the Times Square bombing that clearly was the handiwork of an uninitiated person, could drive her to think in terms of severe consequences for Pakistan, in case, as she said, another attempt that was successful and was linked to Pakistani Taliban were to occur, one could only assume that she was desperately looking for an excuse to hurl that threat. Again, Hollbrooke also told Qureshi that acts of an individual could not possibly spoil relations between the two states and that both would continue to work together to eliminate terrorism. Powerful states, harbouring ulterior motives for a smaller state whose support is crucial to achieving their important strategic goals, are given to speaking with different tongues from the mouths of different high officials, some praising it for following the right policies, others picking holes in the same and threatening it with serious consequences. The ambiguity is designed to confuse the smaller state and create the fear that if it does not toe their line it is up for trouble. Sadly, in our case, there is enough justification to feel that at least the political leadership would be ready to sign on the dotted line, even if that were to ultimately turn out to be its death warrant. Islamabad should make a strong demarche with Washington about Clintons threat, without mincing words. Currently, the US wants Pakistan to extend its military campaign to North Waziristan. The gaping holes in the American investigation of Faisal Shahzad would not, thus, rule out the assumption that the attempt at Times Square was a stage-managed affair, just to give the US a handle on Pakistan. It is time the Pakistan government woke up and realised the adverse implications of launching a campaign in North Waziristan; already it has made enough enemies by its earlier actions. Under no circumstances should our own citizens be targeted; rather, serious efforts must be made to engage, in talks, the groups which have become hostile - thanks to our participation in the US-sponsored war on so-called terror. In fact, the US and its protg Karzai have already come to the conclusion that eliminating what they call terrorism through force is a mirage. Talks alone are the remedy.