General Musharraf was cursed for blindly supporting the War On Terror and a major reason why he shied away from addressing a joint sitting of Parliament was that he knew he would have to do a lot of explaining about his supine capitulation to the United States. President Zardari, however, chose to fulfil his constitutional obligation of addressing the Parliament when his government is doing even worse with regard to defending the country's sovereignty. Though he has rejected the American strikes inside Pakistan, he has cautiously avoided reproaching Mr Bush for letting his forces bomb our territory and massacre innocent citizens. As he dashed off to Britain after cancelling his scheduled visit to China he believed he had managed to convince Prime Minister Gordon Brown to present Pakistan's point of view to the world. So he returned from the 10 Downing Street with a hope that there would be no more US attacks in our tribal area. One wonders what made him get carried away by the British influence that had remained subservient to the American diktat ever since Britain joined global coalition against terrorism. Mr Zardari tried some twisted logic to interpret Mr Brown's support for democracy in Pakistan as his condemnation for unprovoked US strikes in the tribal region. Why would he do so? After all, his country has been blaming the killing of its troops operating in Afghanistan to the militants crossing over from Pakistan. This is the one point on which Washington, London and Kabul are on the same page and are not disposed to abandon their plan of giving the terrorists a beating on Pakistani soil. Right at the time President Zardari was shaking hands with Prime Minister Brown at the latter's official residence in London, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen arrived in Islamabad on an unscheduled visit to ease the rising tension between Pakistan and the US caused by border violations. It was perhaps easier for him to start his official engagement by meeting Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who was plain enough to have observed that "Pakistan doesn't want to go to war against Americans." And it was more like a debriefing for the visiting Admiral with the PM taking care of all courtesy to inform him that in a closed-door meeting during his recent trip to Washington, President Bush had accepted his request for respecting Pakistan's territorial integrity. Admiral Mullen was quick to reiterate his government's commitment on the issue. But hours after he had held out an assurance that there would be no more border violations, seven people were killed in a brazen missile attack from American drones in South Waziristan Agency. The news reports indicated that the unmanned aircraft, which had entered the tribal area from Afghanistan, fired four missiles on a village near Angoor Adda - the area that experienced the first known foreign ground assault on September 3. Anyone who had seen Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at a recent press briefing at the Foreign Office must have pitied him for his failure to give any better explanation than linking the attack to some sort of "institutional disconnect" on the American side. He insisted that he had no reason to disbelieve Admiral Mullen when he had pledged not to violate our sovereignty. But then he must have deliberately ignored a threatening statement the Admiral had made about carrying out military strikes on the Pakistani soil just ahead of his recent visit to Islamabad. The likes of Shah Mehmood Qureshi are doing what they are expected to do. They have no choice other than "respecting" the words uttered by their foreign masters. It is no use risking their jobs by protesting against the aggression being perpetrated by the coalition forces against innocent tribesmen when President Zardari and everyone down the line in the civilian set-up is committed to do the American bidding. But Admiral Mullen's abrupt dash to Pakistan needs to be seen against the backdrop of Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani's firm resolve to defend Pakistan's sovereignty at all costs. The comment came when the ruling political leadership appeared to have been struck by mysterious silence. Even though DG ISPR Maj Gen Ather Abbas tried to downplay the reports about troops having been ordered to shoot the US forces trying to enter our territory, the army is enraged. Gen Kayani was the one person who was visibly upset at a meeting the American Commander had with Pakistan's political and military leadership in Islamabad. The army would surely want to improve its image badly tarnished by General Musharraf's murky role in national politics over the past nine years. But it feels duty bound not to let the so-called democratic leadership compromise the country's sovereignty. It's time President Zardari stopped racing around the globe and focused his attention on devising a comprehensive strategy for tackling the threats to our internal security. E-mail: sarmad@nation.com.pk