THE recently stepped-up armed action against militants in the tribal region and other areas of the country might have given some comfort to the Afghan and NATO commanders, but for Pakistan, its backlash has been downright baleful, littered with dead bodies of innocent civilians. According to an ISPR press release on the proceedings of the Tripartite Commission, which consists of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US, both the Afghan and NATO representatives expressed "satisfaction at the existing level of cooperation" Islamabad was extending them in the anti-terrorist fight. A similar note of appreciation was struck by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher when he pointed out at Washington that Pakistan's new government regarded terrorism as its own problem and had committed itself in clear terms to fight it. The US was, therefore, ready to lend its hand in its efforts. At the Kabul meeting of the Tripartite Commission held on Tuesday, Pakistan was represented by COAS General Ashfaq Kayani, where the security situation in the areas along the Pak-Afghan border came under review. Although no further details have come out of the meeting, one could easily visualise that despite our full-scale military offensive, General Kayani would have been egged on to "do more". That has been an almost unwavering strategy of our allies in the War On Terror i.e. to try to stretch us to the limit, regardless of the consequences the government has to bear from the public for the loss of life that military operations entail. Armed actions have been highly unpopular across the length and breadth of the country not only because they caused the deaths of the country's innocent citizens but also the deadly reaction in the form of suicide attacks that they provoked from militants. The past few days have witnessed scenes of carnage in several towns, in the NWFP that abuts the tribal and northern regions and Punjab. Only yesterday, a suicide bomber, acknowledged by the Tehrik-i-Taliban as one of their commandoes, exploded himself at a hospital at Dera Ismail Khan, killing 27 and wounding 40. Such heinous incidents have become too frequent to keep count, thanks to the added teeth given by the present government to our anti-militant operations. The need for the authorities is not to go all out for the support of Washington and other of its allies, but to give due regard to the wishes of the people. Keeping in tune with the sentiments of the public alone will sustain it in the seat of power. National interests must, under all circumstances, be kept foremost.