PRIME Minister Gilani, talking to Ministers and MNAs in his chamber at the Parliament House on Friday, bemoaned that because of essential expenditure on fighting the war on terror, the government could not launch certain development projects that were aimed at meeting our energy needs and the challenge of unemployment. Apart from the fact that, whatever the compulsion, it is a criminal folly to neglect these two sectors - energy and jobs - that are vital to the regeneration of the stalled economy, one wonders at the reasons for the failure to get the amount spent on the war reimbursed from Washington, which has staged the whole deadly drama and inveigled Pakistan into occupying centre stage. Its lukewarm attitude in making payments should have been enough reason to abandon our cooperation, if ever there was one. In this backdrop particularly, it is ironic and, indeed, hurts the nations feelings to learn that while Pakistan has to suffer hard in terms of human losses, continued economic slump and the consequent widespread misery just to pursue anti-terrorism goals, certain forces abroad keep concocting stories to project its 'failings, that it is sympathetic to militants, and even harbouring them. Indians motives in giving currency to such damaging tales should be well known; their ingrained hostility against Pakistan would invariably find expression in not only belittling its achievements, but also showing it in a poor light to the international community. But when the enemy line is toed by the Americans, who are pretending to have become our strategic partners and at whose insistence myopic Musharraf readily jumped on the war-on-terror bandwagon, with all its debilitating fallout on the country, it automatically provokes justified anger. For the US lawmakers, in this case Congressman Gary Ackerman, who heads the Congressional sub-committee on Foreign Affairs dealing with South Asia, to go about raising alarm at Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT)s ambitions in Pakistan, with the suggestion that the authorities turn a blind eye, it sounds a malicious collusion with the Indians. The Congressman is not alone; even high US officials appear to be accepting the Indian propaganda. There is no doubt that if the Pakistani leadership were to seriously assess the cost of our joining hands with the US, national interest would compel it to immediately break our alliance with the aggressive foreign forces in Afghanistan. The lure of 'strategic partnership would turn out to be a mirage. While it may seem quite legitimate for Mr Holbrooke, the US point man for the region, to say that the growth of relations with Pakistan would not be at the cost of friendship with India, yet translated into its ultimate outcome, such an assurance to India works directly against the interests of Pakistan.