PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari's address to a joint sitting of Parliament, the first ever by any elected president in more than a decade, fell far short of public expectations in many ways, since it failed to provide policy guidelines on some of the major challenges facing the country. The good thing was that he did not mince his words while stating that Pakistan would not tolerate the violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism. The comment comes in the wake of massive bombing of our tribal region by the coalition forces over the past couple of weeks, that continued despite repeated assurances from the Bush Administration that there would be no more border violations. There was, however, no point in reiterating the government's resolve not to allow the use of its soil for carrying out terrorist activities against any foreign country at this stage, when Pakistan itself has been the target of crossborder attacks. The President in his address also talked about the domestic political situation while reaffirming his government's commitment to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution, supremacy of Parliament and rule of law. There is no disputing his observation that "never before in the history of this country has a president given away his powers." But when it comes to actually stripping himself of the powers to dissolve assemblies and dismiss the elected government, he simply called upon Parliament to form an all-party committee to "revisit" the 17th Amendment and Article 58(2b). It was no use deferring the matter in this manner, when by and large all political forces across the divide are prepared to support the repeal of these draconian powers tagged on to the Constitution by successive dictators. As regards improvement in relations with neighbouring countries, he proposed to form a bipartisan caucus for the purpose of resolving outstanding disputes with India, including Kashmir. But while he talked about liberalising the visa regime, expanding people-to-people contacts and establishing new facilities for the visiting Sikh Hindu pilgrims, he did not mention even once Pakistan's adherence to its principled stance for resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN Resolutions. The President, taking a cue from Martin Luther King's famous speech, said, "I have a dream for Pakistan" but stopped short of elaborating, leaving it to the nation to keep guessing what goals he has in mind and how he plans to achieve them. Now that he is embarking on a five-day visit to the United States, it is hoped he will take a firm position in his meeting with Mr Bush with regard to the frequent US missile strikes in our territory. These attacks came at a time when Pakistan is already grappling with a rising tide of extremism. In a latest incident of suicide bombing at Marriott Hotel Islamabad on Saturday evening 30 people were killed and more than 250 others injured.