ISLAMABADS somewhat subdued reaction to the charges of its involvement in the Mumbai incidents in the past provided an excuse to the vast Indian propaganda machinery to drum up the accusation that the planning of virtually every terrorist act in the world was done on Pakistani soil. The Americans, unwilling to recognise their primary role in creating the forces of militancy, unable to put the evil genie back in the bottle when it began to hurt them and already disposed to scapegoating Pakistan, did not wait for any evidence to surface before rushing into backing the Indian position. Pressure began to be built on Islamabad to bring the 'accused to book and its legitimate demand for evidence that could stand in a court of law remained unheeded. New Delhi kept raising a hue and cry about Islamabads inaction in an attempt to put it on the defensive and then started spreading fear that it might be planning other terrorist attacks, culminating in Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs premonition of another Mumbai taking place in India. Not only that. Finding Pakistan in a tight corner vis--vis the war on terror, India intensified its subversive activities in Balochistan, the tribal belt along the Pak-Afghan border and other places in Pakistan. Unfortunately, our leadership did not come up to the public expectations of confronting the situation and remained, in general, on the back foot. It is, therefore, good to hear Interior Minister Rehman Malik forcefully express Pakistans response to these issues. Indian Home Minister Chidambaram would do well to listen to his advice: reply to Pakistans questionnaire about Mumbai, put his own house in order where disaffection is widespread and insurgents are active in many states and punish the bombers of Samjhota Express where a number of Pakistanis perished and the culprits were widely known. Mr Malik was unequivocal in pointing a finger at India for every terrorist activity in Pakistan. He was also right in saying that if the Indians did not share the intelligence that led Dr Singh to foresee another Mumbai-like attack, Pakistan could not be held responsible for whatever happened. Coolly evaluating the Indian PMs sense of an approaching disaster, it would be clear that he was only playing his part in Indias anti-Pakistan propaganda campaign. A rational approach, which the hegemony-oriented Indian strategists are disinclined to adopt, would be to stop muddying the waters for Pakistan, call off the blame game, sit on the negotiating table to settle Kashmir and other disputes and join hands not only to combat the common threat of terrorism but also the appalling poverty that afflicts an alarmingly high percentage of population of the subcontinent.