There could be no greater indictment of the countrys security forces than the highly successful Saturday night attack on PNS Mehran Base by a handful of terrorists. It beats ones imagination to know that they managed to carry heavy weapons into the base by scaling its wall with the help of ladders, and at just about 10.30pm. It must have taken them time enough for those charged with the bases security to intercept them before they could launch themselves into action. Were they happily ensconced nearby to spring into action at the time of their choosing or did they carry these weapons passing through the bustling town of Karachi that is not known to sleep any time of the day or the night? In either case, the accusing finger points squarely at the security apparatus that let the nation down so badly that the grievous loss to the defence of Pakistan the attack has caused would be too difficult to make up under the current unhelpful circumstances. Granted that the terrorist operation has all the makings of a skilled and efficient foreign hand at work, but the security has to be alert to meet all challenges and at any time. The need for alertness is all the greater in this hostile climate when enemies pretend to be friends offering their services to help. Secretary Clintons conclusion that the attack on the naval base underlines the need for Pak-US cooperation is a subtle warning not only against any review of the existing arrangement between the two countries, which reduces the level of cooperation, but also against the recent moves of Islamabad to get closer to Beijing. And if we keep in mind the scare of Chinese expanding influence, particularly in this region rich with energy resources, that perpetually haunts the Americans, and the friendship they have acquired of India (for which they went to the extent of violating a cherished international treaty NPT) in an attempt to checkmate that influence, the picture becomes clearer. New Delhi, our sworn enemy, also figures in the equation of the attack quite prominently. General Aslam Beg seems to be right: India is the biggest beneficiary of our loss of P-3C Orion. It has downed already one of them while it was flying on a peaceful mission. Against this background, for Mr Rehman Malik to sing Washingtons tune is most reprehensible, though it fits in with the government policy of keeping the public in the dark. He should know that with this kind of mindset and without putting the public in the know of the causes of this ongoing drama of terrorist attacks, the government becomes responsible for the endless speculations that inevitably take birth. And a direct result is total failure to handle the situation. Strangely, while the nation was agonising over the Mehran base tragedy, the political leadership, except for the clueless Interior Minister, stood seized with inertia, unable to utter a word Prime Minister Gilani wakes up but feels no urgency to hold any discussion and schedules a meeting of DCC two days and a half after the attack began. And how all the forces available for the defence of the country took 17 long hours to beat only six terrorists, letting two of them escape with impunity, is hard to visualise. Obviously, there are serious flaws in our strategy and if we have to defeat militancy and foreign machinations against our integrity and solidarity, we have to gird up our loins to set our house in order and settle for the right friends.