ONCE again Pakistan is under US pressure, this time on the issue of the Transit Trade Agreement with Afghanistan which is now being sponsored by the US. Earlier, it was feared that Pakistan would give in to US demands and grant access to India across the land border, into Afghanistan and on to Central Asia. The Indians had also sought to have the right to let their goods pass by unchecked and protected by their "guards". Mercifully saner counsel has prevailed and the talks in Islamabad have seen a tough and rational approach by the Government of Pakistan. On the issue of India, they have rightly suggested India take up the land trade transit access in the composite bilateral dialogue which it is presently stalling. Instead of allowing a backdoor entry to India, Pakistan needs to stress on the revival of the composite dialogue in order to discuss all bilateral issues - from Kashmir to security to trade. Pakistan must sustain its position relating to India - that a renewal of the composite dialogue is necessary for all issues India may seek to raise, including land trade routes across Pakistan. Also, there is the serious concern over the arms trade flowing in from Kabul, with India's covert role becoming evermore evident on this front also, alongside drug trafficking and terror financing. Pakistan is seeking tough security conditions on to the new Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). This has been made necessary because of the situation on the ground in FATA and the record of abuse of the transit trade facility earlier. For instance, the evils of the Hundi money transfer system had plagued the 1965 Afghan Transit Trade Agreement. While international law provides for unhindered transit trade access to landlocked states, this cannot be done without necessary protective measures for the country through which the trade passes. Ironically, India has always used the transit trade facility for Nepal as a tool for political pressure, blocking it at the slightest pretext - as when Nepal 'dared' to buy a few ak-ak guns from China. Pakistan has tended to ignore security issues in the context of the Afghan transit trade, but in the prevailing situation with the US attempting to assert its agenda on all fronts, and Pakistan being devastated by terrorism from internal and external forces, it has to put security issues at the forefront of the transit trade question. After all, if the Afghan transit trade continues to aid and abet drug trafficking and terror financing, then it needs to be restructured to comply with Pakistan's security needs. If the APTTA is delayed as a result, so be it.