War is defined in international law as the "use of armed forces by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another state" and this is also the meaning of "aggression" as adopted by the UN. The attack of September 2008 when to the shock, dismay and horror of Pakistanis, the US armed forces illegally entered into the Pakistani territory and murdered innocent citizens, mostly women and children and destroyed their properties, is hence an act of War. The world community is attempting to down play this by calling it a "strike within Pak territory" but the fact of the matter is that the US has made an unsuccessful attempt to invade Pakistan. Since the government has not taken a tougher stance the entire world, including the Islamic states, have also remained quiet. Contrast this with the outrage from world leaders when Russia invaded the Georgian territory. The situation is very confusing and bizarre. Pakistan is an ally of US in the War On Terror and indeed itself a victim of terrorism. An attack on it seems totally unjustified and absurd. Since independence, recognising that the ideals of democracy and fundamental rights were common to both countries, Pakistan aligned itself with the US. The relationship between the two countries saw its ups and downs and at one point US policies appeared so dominating that it forced Ayub to write in his book that the two countries are "friends" and the US is "not our master." This "friendship" reached its lowest ebb when the West after winning the Afghan war totally abandoned Pakistan to face the crises of Afghan refugees, menace of Kalashnikov culture and again when economic sanctions were imposed following the nuclear explosion. Then came 9/11 when innocent US citizens were killed. This was followed immediately by invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Pakistan too, apparently under threat of do or die, became an ally in this War. Being an ally however does not mean that Pakistan is simply going to agree to whatever US wants it to do in its territory. The mindset of the US think-tank in its War has been to bomb out and destroy the terrorists as if in a video game. They genuinely perhaps feel that Pakistan needs to carry out an army excursion in the northern areas to ultimately end terrorism and are hence forcing it to do so. However, US is oblivious to cultural and religious realities and has obviously not learnt from its experience in Iraq and Afghanistan where might of sophisticated weaponry has been unable to get rid of rag tag teams of local resistance. Pakistan which is a sovereign authority, as a matter of policy does not agree with the US cowboy style of doing things and believes, rightly so, that military attack by the Pak Army into northern areas in order to eliminate any foreign terrorists will involve killing of its own citizens. The Pakistani government understands the culture of its people and hence the stand of Pakistan on this matter is clear that the use of force will create resentment and will only fuel more terrorist attacks. When bowing to the US pressure, the Pak Army began an excursion, the obvious consequences followed. There was resistance and killings on both sides. Anti-US feeling among the public rose and Pakistan also saw an abundance of terrorist incidents (56 suicide bombings in 2007). The right to decide as to what needs to be done to control and eliminate terrorism in Pakistan is only its fundamental right as a nation. If the new government believes that the answer lies in diplomacy and dialogue, coupled with economic bargains, followed if necessary by threats and limited violence, then no one can challenge Pakistan for its decisions. The Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States unequivocally provides that "No state may use any type of measure to coerce another state in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights." The International Convention on Human Rights reconfirms the right of all the people to "freely pursue their economic, social and cultural developments." Causing a state to follow or not follow a particular path is an infringement of territorial integrity. The 1965 Declaration on the inadmissibility of intervention in the domestic affairs of the state emphasis that "No state has the right to intervene...for any reason, in the internal domestic affairs. All armed intervention against the personality of the state or against its political economic and cultural elements are condemned." With the upcoming US presidential elections an instance of War is necessary for the Republican Party to regain sympathy from the public. Having failed to intimidate Iran, US decided that Pakistan is the softest target for an invasion. A consensus was built amongst the American public that in order to win the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq it was necessary that if Pakistan does not follow the US dictates then America would have to invade Pakistan in order to eliminate the terrorists. Some in the US claim legal validity for this invasion under the concept of a "Just War" while others state that this is an act of "self-defence". The doctrine of "Just War" arose when the Christians abandoned their passivism. The principle was that "force could be used provided it complied with divine will - for maintenance of orderly society." The principle of "Just War" was acceptable as long as wars were between Christians and Muslims, but with the advent of inter-Christian religious wars, this concept disappeared from the International Law. According to Shaw on International Law, "The states were free and equal and therefore no state could judge whether the cause was just or not. Independence and integrity of nations have to be respected." As far as self-defence is concerned, this is recognised in a very limited sense by the UN whose Article 51 states that a country can take proportionate military action for limited period in self-defence if it is attacked by an army. But writers and ICJ in Nicaragua's case suggest that there is also an inherent right to anticipatory and pre-emptive self-defence. According to Shaw, "It is true that if a major terrorist incident is mounted or supported by one state against another, this may justify measures under the inherent right of self-defence of counter attack by the aggrieved state." In the case of Pakistan however self-defence does not apply at all. Pakistan has never attacked US. It is in fact the victim of terrorist activities itself and is trying to tackle a very complicated problem of terrorism. Pakistan has a sovereign right to decide how to deal with terrorism within its territories and no one can dictate to it. All countries must respect this sovereignty of Pakistan as an independent state. If we do not agree with the policy of bombing out terrorists, but keeping in view our culture and background, would like to adopt alternate strategies then the US has no right to say that we are wrong and take away our sovereignty by attacking us. The invasions must not be allowed to become a routine or else people may take up arms in a popular movement. I would suggest to the new government that pending any further serious measures, Pakistan should forthwith take the matter to UN and also immediately call a meeting of the OIC and obtain a unanimous condemnation and resolution of stoppage of this invasion from the Muslim Ummah. All co-operations with the US on the War should cease and remain suspended till it agrees on a 'no attack' policy. Pakistan and the US are friends and not enemies. However, the US needs to recognise that Pakistan has a right and genuine reasons to respond in its own way to the threats within its territory. The answer does not lie in attacking Pakistan which cannot be justified. Terrorism will be eliminated, not with force only, but slowly and with full cooperation between equal allies. The burden for eliminating terrorism in Pakistan must be discharged and seen to be discharged by Pakistanis themselves as no person, especially the Pathans, will tolerate a foreign invader coming in and killing his fellow nationals. The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan E-mail: mnz@nexlinx.net.pk