Sameer Khosa Presently, we have a democratically elected leadership in Pakistan. The PPP continues to tout the fact that it came into power on the shoulders of a popular mandate, not the barrel of a gun. And that it will stay in power on the shoulders of the masses, not the blessings of any superpower. The current party in government, as well as the party in opposition, in fact the entire democratic set up continues to distinguish itself from the Musharraf era on the prem-ise that he was a dictator supported by the West, whereas they are a regime supported by the people of Pakistan. This means that the overthrow of Musharraf and the set-up of a 'truly democratic regime in Pakistan was against the wishes of the superpower - a victory of the people against American interference, if you will. On the other hand, some people will also argue that Musha-rraf was playing a double game with the Americans. That he pretended to act on their behest but continued to harbour the terrorists as a secret strategic asset. Therefore, Amer-ica got tired of being played around and decided to install a more pliant government in Islamabad - through funding and engineering a popular movement, pressurising the dictator into a deal with Benazir Bhutto and clearing the way for a more thorough implementation of the American agenda in Pakistan. Seen through this lens, the events of 2007-08 are a sad tale for the people of Pakistan being played around by the imperialist power that wanted to further their own interest in Pakistan. The first problem is that only one of these assumptions can be true. Either the lawyers movement and the popular unrest against Musharraf was an anti-imperialist movement that was countering the American agenda, or it was a movement in which the Pakistani public was duped and it furthered USAs agenda in Pakistan. However, it cannot be both at the same time. The second problem is that there is such information, misinformation and lack of information all at the same time that there is no way for average folk to know which one is true. Therein results the most interesting paradox - the two most opposed people in Pakistan, the most divided opinions, two complete polar opposites who disagree on every aspect of interpretation of the same set of facts, will agree on a simple truth: it is Americas fault. Apparently, it seems we need America - it is a unifying force like no other in this country. The problem is not that we should not call out American interference where we see it. The problem is that we see it in almost every single thing that we perceive as negative in our country - even when they contradict each other. Anyone who cares to point out this simple logical inconsistency is dismissed as heretical, unpatriotic, simplistic unable to see the obvious grand designs at play. Perhaps, it is a fact that we have grown up in a country where what we see is never ever what we get. There are always hidden agendas, two-faced lying, politicking, self-interest; with the result that we are conditioned to distrust. A healthy dose of cynicism is good for us. We should be aware that our country is strategically important on the globe at the moment and that there are different self-interests at play. Today, in our country, however, anti-Americanism has grown to a level where it allows us to easily shift blame and not address our problems. That is not healthy. It is not a question of fact- nobody is arguing that there is no American interference - just one of degree, simply that the root cause of each of our problems does not lie there. People will often tell you, 'yes, nobody is arguing that we do not have problems of our own or that we should not look into our own closet. Yet, those are just words. When a vast majority of our time is spent discussing how America is wrong as opposed to the systemic weaknesses in our society which allow for such interference, then we are not focusing on our problems; we are merely acknowledging but ignoring them. A simple gauge of what it is we are truly focused on, is how much time we talk about a problem and its solutions. By that measure, we talk about America a lot more than what we can do to fix our own house. The contention is simple, do not be oblivious to outside interference but do not obsess about it to the degree that paralyses all prospects of self-improvement. Today, America bashing makes us more hateful and violent, and hampers our own development. We see America as the root of our problems - that puts us off of participating in our domestic socio-political system because we believe it pointless and makes us more vengeful towards a country. This ignorance of the socio-political system at home makes it even worse than it presently is which makes it even more unlikely to solve the problems of our own country and worsens this cycle. If we are truly serious about countering foreign interference then we have to focus on fixing the truly obvious in our country. Foreign interference cannot take place without people in our political set-up selling our country out. We have to develop and involve ourselves in finding a leadership we can trust is sincere to the cause of this country. People are convinced to blow themselves up because of lack of education, prospect of money, fear, violence or of promises of protection of their family. All of that represents a failure of the state machinery - one that we must improve. Separatist movements supported by other countries take money because there are real grievances to be addressed - let us address them. America may be able to buy some people some of the time, but it cannot buy all of the people all of the time. Let us support a system which incorporates all of the people, let us strengthen democracy. America cannot force us to vote for somebody. Let us vote for the right person next time. Yes, America may have interference in our country - but no we do not know its true nature. Yes America may have a agenda in our country - but the solutions to that do not lie in taming America, they lie in strengthening ourselves. Let us focus and talk about that for a change. The writer is a barrister-at-law. Email: skhosa.rma@gmail.com