On the face of it, the impression emanating from Special Representative Mark Grossman’s meetings with President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Ashraf is that the US is keen to boost bilateral trade through giving Pakistan market access. The reality on the ground bears out the delicacy of the situation, when taken in consideration with other issues. Optimism would be premature, given that discussions touched upon a range of issues, from the US demand to release Dr Afridi rebuffed by our leadership that insisted on ending drone attacks. The use of Afridi as a spy went against the basic principles of how two allies are meant to work with each other and drone attacks have taken away the element of trust from the bilateral equation.The promise of market access goes back to former President Bush’s regime. It is rightly accused of reneging on the commitment about Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ) in the tribal areas, whereby products manufactured by the locals were to be given access to the US market. The trade carrot, in the absence of any meaningful measures taken to fulfill the promise, explain why the Pakistani public has little confidence in the US administration. Espionage games, the resounding failure of Nato to stop insurgents crossing freely into Pakistan, has among others spoiled the prospect of a respite that we are badly in need of after being embroiled in the maelstrom for over a decade. No more considering the US a dependable partner, an effort to find new avenues of friendship is afoot. Since the US’s main ambition behind its Afghan adventure is to watch its own interests, it is now up to our leadership to realise that Pakistan must be equally aggressive in seeking its own self interest. The US can always say it has no obligation to help Pakistan, leaning on the excuse that we have not done enough to stamp out militancy. Whatever we have done so far, — over 40,000 lives lost – will be put down as the fallout of the Afghan-Soviet war, even though the adventure was undertaken at the behest of the US.