In politics, according to an old adage, "everything is fair in love and war", which seems to apply well in the environment prevailing in South Asia. Certainly, there are spin masters the world over, including various intelligence or spy agencies, who do not hesitate to knock out their opponents and destabilise foreign governments to fulfil their grand designs. Thus it is not a surprise that Pakistan, which successfully achieved its freedom in 1947, despite the British government's blatant support for the Indians, especially the Hindus, through international conspiracy is not being allowed to flourish, even though its geographical location is of most strategic nature in the South Asian region. It is unfortunate that since our independence, the Indian leadership has not accepted Pakistan as a separate nation. More so, some major powers of the world also have their own strategic designs in the region, especially Pakistan. Indeed, Pakistan has to face many challenges to maintain its sovereignty. However, one of the major reasons for not being able to cope with our problems effectively is lack of education. That is Pakistan's tragedy to which no government - past or present - has paid any attention. We should, therefore, not be shocked or surprised, if the developed nations do not wish to see a Muslim nuclear state prosper, as it suits their strategic design to keep this key country in South Asia in a constant state of turmoil. Another reason for our problems is our political leadership, comprising mostly of feudal lords and industrial tycoons, who, wittingly or unwittingly, have played in the hands of our adversaries for the last 63 years. After the Quaid, unfortunately, we have never had a leader of that stature to maintain the integrity of this nation. On the contrary, our early leadership slipped from the politicians into the hands of British trained bureaucrats, who sought the support of the armed forces by appointing the Commander-in-Chief of the army as Defence Minister in 1954. This step paved the way for the first martial law enforced in Pakistan by General Ayub in 1958. However, there were brief periods of so-called parliamentary democracy, during interludes between martial laws, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Main Nawaz Sharif came to power through popular vote. Anyway, this brings me to the "image deficit" theory recently circulated by some officials in the UN to malign the ruling leadership in Pakistan at a time when the international focus is on providing relief aid to Pakistan. This was no time for minting such negative theories against the government of a country reeling under the onslaught of the world's worst crisis compared to the 2004 tsunami and 2005 earthquake. Nevertheless, UN officials should behave in a more responsible manner, especially when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is appealing for maximum assistance from the international community and has also called a special session of the General Assembly after visiting the flood-affected areas. Similarly, Senator John Kerry after his visit to the affected areas has stressed, in the strongest possible words, for urgent help and assistant to Pakistan to tide over the rescue, relief and rehabilitation challenges. Thus, the global response in rushing relief aid to Pakistan belies the "image deficit" theory coming in the way of generous international support to it. The impression that insufficient foreign aid received for the flood victims is due to trust deficit in the Pakistani government is not true. However, I shall conclude by admitting that there is a certain amount of trust deficit between the major political parties, which is apparent from the absence of a coordinated effort to provide relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction to the flood-affectees. Without a national effort neither the government, nor any political party alone can handle this colossal challenge. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum