The huge blast which destroyed Marriott Hotel on September 20 has shocked the world. The militants by attacking one of the most well guarded hotels in the heart of the Capital's in retaliation to the army operation in the tribal areas have delivered a clear message that continuation of Musharraf's pro-American policy and attacks on Taliban is not acceptable. In his speech Zardari said terrorism had to be rooted out and that Pakistan must stop the militants from using its territory for attacks on other countries. Zardari perceived to be aligned with the US is following in the footsteps of Musharraf  who survived multiple attacks on his life. Like Musharraf, Zardari will now be confined to his Presidential Camp Office. This incident has put a new perspective on recent events by shifting focus from countering the US ground attack to the real issue of tackling militancy as a team. The tragic event has created a sense of urgency in finding a permanent solution to the complex militancy issue. Prior to the Marriott incident attention focused on the September 3 event when the American Special Operations forces for the first time carried out a ground attack in FATA. The event actualised the new US policy and Rules of Engagement. In response General Kiyani reflecting true public sentiments resolved to defend the country at all costs and ordered to fire on US troops. However, the real position is reflected by Zardari saying that he would not commit Saddam's mistake of taking on the US and the PM's remarks that Pakistan cannot fight the US. The drone attacks are continuing despite the assurances given by Bush, Brown and Mullen. Perhaps the matter can be settled amicably with the Americans but how will the citizens be protected from suicide bombings is the real problem. How did we land in this mess? Are we heading for a confrontation with the US? After 9/11 Bush asked Musharraf "Are you with us or not with us." He readily agreed. What then prompted Bush to allow the use of ground forces? US officials are concerned that Al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on its forces from the safe havens in FATA and the next attack on the West will be masterminded from the tribal areas. Pakistan has not done enough and is not sincere. The bases originated after the Tora Bora bombing with the blessings of ISI. For this reason the US is reluctant to share intelligence with Pakistani agencies. US Commander Schloesser says that twelve percent of all insurgent attacks took place along the Pakistan border. The US is against agreements that do not require the militants to stop attacks on US forces. Consequently the US administration since 2008 had been seriously debating the issue of sending ground forces. Sensing the aggressive US mood, the PPP government entrusted the militancy problem back to the army which blindly started an all out war on June 25 resulting in the displacement of over 300,000 persons who are facing severe hardships. This is the main cause of the massive retaliation by the militants on Marriott hotel. Pakistan's response to the US allegations is that it is doing its best under the circumstances. It has deployed more than 80,000 troops and is facing the major brunt of the War On Terror of which the suicidal attack on Marriott is the latest incident. The increase in attacks is actually the failure of the US forces as confirmed by Mullen. According to Pakistani officials the border raids are not significant in the overall war. The main problem is the inability of Karzai's government to provide basic services and maintain law and order. There is rampant corruption, uncontrolled opium trade and growing fears of civil unrest. The Taliban have influence in all provinces. The government is hated as it is an American puppet. It is also an election ploy by McCain to drum up support for Bush's failed policies. Karzai is promoting Indian hegemony and undermining Pakistan's security. The US intends to establish permanent bases to counter China, Iran and Pakistan. This Pakistani viewpoint is not being accepted by the west. Why can't Pakistan comply with the US request and eliminate the militant's bases? The difficulty is that when the armed forces take any action then as a reaction the internal law and order within Pakistan deteriorates because of the suicide bombings. The backlash especially from the sympathetic groups creates political instability. However, anti-US feeling does not allow any drastic action. That is why Musharraf walked the tight rope by adopting a dual policy of supporting both the US and pro-Pakistani militants. Shah Mahmood says, "We understand the concerns of the US....They must perceive our worries as well." The concerns of the stakeholders need to be considered within the following context. First, many Pakistani's feel that the War On Terror is Bush's war, hence an absence of support for it within the country. Under the UN resolutions controlling terrorist activities is Pakistan's legal obligation. How Pakistan handles it, is no doubt its internal matter but it has to show results. The US military and economic assistance lured Musharraf into the war and in this respect it can be considered as America's war. Second, America is at war in Afghanistan but with its already heavy military involvement in the region, it has no intention of entering into serious engagement with its main ally. Pakistan may not be strong economically but with its 164 million populations and nuclear and military capability if it withdraws its support the war will collapse. The expected severe backlash has given cold feet to the Americans officials and the US media is now asking for restraint. Third, neither the US nor Pakistan has a strategy to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan or in Pakistan. Hit and run attacks by the US forces point to desperation. Allies are fighting with each other. Agreements are made, muddled and broken. Security forces are bombing indiscriminately, killing children and women. Militancy has intermingled with sectarianism and militants are growing in numbers. There is an overwhelming anti-American feeling in the country. However, anti-American does not mean pro-Taliban. Overall there is utter confusion and no convergence of policy, strategy or tactics. The government's three pronged strategy i.e. dialogue and agreements, economic development and limited use of force is nothing new. Zardari's plans include an intergovernmental counter-terrorist body and establishment of a special intelligence cell at Pakistan Embassy in London. PPP's reluctance to debate the matter in the Parliament arises from the fear that the resolution may go against the existing US agreements. The US willing to trample over Pakistan's sovereignty is looking for a military solution. After the Marriott attack the expected escalation of indiscriminate army operations will make matter worse. A consensus political solution is required. The logical way out is for the US to leave Afghanistan. Unfortunately, its prerequisites cannot be met. Continuation of current chaos is foreseen in the medium term as the differences are large and the efforts are focused on winning the ideological war by force. The writer is a former member of the National Reconstruction Bureau E-mail: