Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, one of Washingtons political leaders assigned to do the hatchet job and compulsively pull up Pakistan, in or out of season, for its assumed failures in suppressing militancy had, some days back, shot another arrow from her bow, making a particularly lethal hit at the fast deteriorating Pak-US relations. While on a visit to New Delhi to lead the American delegation for holding Strategic Dialogue with India, she made a strong plea to it to come forward and take up leadership role in South Asia. But, most surprisingly, our political leadership that, one should have expected would sharply react to such nefarious scheming, simply ignored the development. As the scenario now suggests, it was left to the army chief to call on the Prime Minister and persuade him to jointly rubbish the outlandish idea and declare that Pakistan would never accept the Indian hegemony. The military leaderships dominant role, howsoever undesirable it might seem in the context of democratic aspirations of the people, one must grudgingly acknowledge was positive in defence of national interests. This fact could also be gauged from the report appearing in this paper yesterday that it was at the security agencies insistence that the permission already issued by the political leadership for the establishment of a US consulate at Quetta had to be withdrawn. Raymond Davis ought to have made the Pakistan government ever more vigilant of any move that could give the US a foothold in a sensitive province like Balochistan, where, it believes, Al-Qaeda and Haqqani group leaders are ensconced comfortably with the help or connivance of our security outfits. With the faade of Washingtons friendship for Islamabad virtually pulled down with the force and type of criticism being hurled at Pakistan, it is certainly not in our national interest to let the Americans have a diplomatic presence in an area where certain elements are up in arms against the government. Strong evidence of the Indian hand enjoying covert US support to these hostile forces already exists. Despite all that, our political rulers have shown their vulnerability to American pressure. It is quite obvious also from Mr Gilanis interview to the Guardian in which he somehow saw a good role for India in Afghanistan, a totally incomprehensible view that is being touted by Washington and falls in line with its designs of making India the South Asian hegemon. Our rulers, whether military or civilian, had failed to perceive the logic of President Clintons cosying up to India when he visited New Delhi during his tenure and that warmth later resulted in 'civilian nuclear deal and now in the bait of hegemony in order to cajole India to firmly commit itself to serve as counterweight to China. It is an illusion, though, that when the crunch comes India would live up to the US expectations. But that is another story