IT was shocking, though not surprising, to find Richard Holbrooke declare that Pakistan had no right to determine Afghanistans future. Of course, in an ideal situation only the country itself should decide its future but under the present circumstances Afghanistan is a country under US-NATO occupation and its future is being decided by these external players from distant lands. Pakistan is a neighbour of Afghanistans, shares historical and cultural ties and has every right to ensure that interests that directly threaten it do not have access to power in Kabul. Despite this legitimate right, Pakistan has traditionally recognised whoever has held power in Kabul. But it is a dangerous game the US is playing with Pakistans future by bringing in India into Afghanistan, including giving it access to Afghan security forces through the training route. India, legitimately, should have no strategic interest in Afghanistan since it does not even share a border with that country. Additionally, as Holbrooke knows only too well, India has basically sought to use Afghanistan as a base for destabilising Pakistan. Therefore for the US to give India growing space in that country reflects a combined agenda against Pakistan. It is as simple as that, when one cuts through the semantics. In fact, the US continues to convert Pakistan effectively into a satellite state. It continues to target Pakistani citizens in FATA through drone attacks and its personnel ride roughshod all across Pakistan with a total disregard for its laws and people, including their lives. As if that was not in itself intolerable for the Pakistani citizen, NATO uses Pakistani territory to transport goods of all kinds into Afghanistan but unlike a sovereign state, Pakistan is not allowed to examine any of the containers to see what is actually in them. Given how a large quantity of military equipment is being shipped in these containers, Pakistan has no record of what that equipment is and how much of it is actually intended for Afghanistan and how much gets off-loaded clandestinely within Pakistan itself to non-state actors. That would explain how militants in Pakistan are getting access to sophisticated weaponry. Why the government of Pakistan has allowed NATO this privilege which puts it above the normal law of the land is inexplicable and it is time NATO goods were subject to scrutiny and examination by the Pakistani authorities so that a record and account can be kept of the military hardware and if any of it lands up in militant hands, the linkage can be established and dealt with accordingly. What is equally disturbing is the Pakistan militarys absurdly sanguine approach to all these US machinations. For instance, when questioned on exactly which Pakistani air bases are still under US control, the PAF has chosen to adopt a fearful silence. Why? It is time we broke off from the present US stranglehold that is suffocating Pakistan to death.