THE news of US opposition to nuclear cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing must put the advocates of Washington's sincerity in its relations with Pakistan on the defensive. The report carried by The Times of India and reproduced in a section of the press in Pakistan reveals that the US has asked both countries not to go ahead with their project of Chashma III and IV nuclear power plants till the Nuclear Suppliers Group had given its "consensus" approval. Strangely, the charge of proliferation, now a story of the past not different from what the Americans and several European countries had been engaged in at one time, somehow continues to be applied in pursuit of their strategic objectives. The fact that Pakistan has made foolproof arrangements against any possibility of the leakage of secrets in the future by putting in place Nuclear Command and Control system to oversee these sensitive assets is somehow not taken into the reckoning. The State Department Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs has been quoted as having written to a Democrat Congressmen saying, "Although Pakistan's energy needs are real and increasing, we believe Pakistan's proliferation record would make NSG consensus difficult were China to request an exception." He has also assured him that the issue has been taken up at "multiple levels" with leaderships of the two countries, making it plain to them that the "proposed cooperation on Chashma III and IV should not move forward". Energy holds the key to future progress and Pakistan, it is acknowledged on all hand, is markedly deficient in it. A friendly nation that has sworn umpteen times since 9/11 of having an abiding relations with Islamabad and committed to promote its development efforts should be happy to see it acquire the cleanest possible energy from whatever source it can. In fact, it should be coming forward to lend a helping hand, but as the whole world knows, the US has rebuffed Pakistan's request for reaching an accord similar to the one it has concluded with India. This is despite Islamabad's assurance that it would strictly abide by the rules of non-proliferation to which it has conformed since the command authority was established. But Washington has an axe to grind in pandering to the wishes of New Delhi in a desperate bid to contain Beijing's fast spreading influence. Pakistan and China must resist the US pressure and maintain the correct argument, as they have so far, according to the report, done that the projects would be carried out under the IAEA safeguards and would be consistent with their international commitments.