In spite of the gathering clouds of unrest in different sectors of the home front and a state of serious defiance of the writ of the government in the tribal areas and some settled districts like Hangu warranting military action on the request of the NWFP administration, the announcement by the federal cabinet that "it sees no threat to the country" brings little relief to the common man, being grinded under the worst conditions since the past half a century. On the external front, according to reliable sources, the threat of US strikes on Taliban and Al-Qaeda hideouts in Waziristan and other tribal areas is a reality. It is, therefore, not without the situation being really grim that the PM has assigned the task of restoring the writ of state to the COAS. Since the military action has already been launched and Pak army gunships are targeting militants in the affected areas of Hangu, NATO troops have been building up on the Pak border for the last one week. According to latest report as I write these lines, NATO-led troops in Afghanistan used helicopters and artillery to fire into Pakistan after coming under rocket attacks from the Pak border, the alliance force claimed. The counterattack according to Kabul was launched from Afghanistan's Paktika province, which adjoins Pakistan's North Waziristan. Not only the Indian FO in New Delhi but also the Afghan president has accused Pakistan in the recent bomb blast outside the Indian embassy in Kabul. Using the often-repeated malicious accusations against Islamabad to cover the failure of his Afghan administration Karzai has announced to boycott any more dialogue with Pakistan and conveyed the same to Washington. The US has shown instant sympathy and announced readiness to probe Kabul allegations. Speaking at the White House, Bush said that the movement of the extremists from Pakistan to Afghanistan troubled him and pledged to suppress such elements. Back home, Mehsud has given NWFP government an ultimatum to resign or face the consequences. Plainly speaking the ongoing insurgency would get more grim and bloody. A new dimension to the defiance of the writ of government is militants establishing mohtasib shura and sharie courts first in Swat and now in Waziristan. On the other hand, Malik has vowed publicly not to allow this parallel legal system under any circumstances. Pakistan's Ambassador in Washington has summed up the shrinking options open to the fragile democratic system. The government has a four party coalition to run the country but a major member of the federal coalition PML-N has pulled out all its ministers in protest, for the reasons of blossoming genuine democracy which is not possible without the settlement of the ongoing judicial crisis and the impeachment of Musharraf. The other major partner of the coalition namely PPP has a different agenda and wishes to meet the demands of PML-N in its own time through the parliament in a constitutional package. With regard to the insurgency in the tribal areas Gilani believes that Pakistan is not indulging "in a proxy war" but it is fighting against terrorism in the best interest of the state and the people of Pakistan. The US, deeply involved in Afghanistan regards Pakistan as a frontline ally in the War On Terror and expects Pakistan to stop supporting Taliban and Al-Qaeda inside Afghanistan from the tribal belt that they consider as a safe haven for the militants. Washington, while appreciating Pakistan's role, has been constantly requesting Pakistan to "do more". For many strategic reasons, including the presidential elections in the first week of November 2008, time is running out for Washington to prolong the current situation in Afghanistan. Islamabad has therefore been informed without mincing any words that Pakistan should either undertake to do the needful within a reasonable framework of time, for which all possible assistance " military and financial " would be provided. Failing this, the State Department seems to have finally decided to undertake this difficult task on their own in spite of Pakistan's sensitivity regarding infringement on its sovereignty. Bush, in spite of his best wishes for Musharraf, has given his green signal to his administration's grand design in the best interest of the US and also of the Republican Party on the eve of the presidential election. The PM has convened a summit meeting of the ruling coalition at Islamabad on July 23 " 24 to take a final decision before its too late. No single political party can " at this critical juncture " successfully meet the internal and external challenges threatening Pakistan. All the coalition partners need to work together and support each other to overcome the present grave crisis. The writer is a president of the Pakistan National Forum E-mail: