The cumbersome joint session of the Parliament has finally concluded after unanimously passing a 14-point resolution bringing across to the government the need for an "urgent review of our national security strategy and revisiting the methodology of combating terrorism in order to restore peace and stability to Pakistan and the region through an independent foreign policy." It has also been stressed that "the challenge of militancy and extremism must be met through developing a consensus and dialogue with all genuine stakeholders." The resolution underscored the need that "Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity shall be safeguarded. The nation stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland, and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively." The resolution also highlighted the primacy of peaceful resolution of disputes by urging the government that "dialogue must now be the highest priority as a principal instrument of conflict management and resolution. Dialogue will be encouraged with all those elements willing to abide by the Constitution of Pakistan and the rule of law." Laudable as the directives may be, they constitute a tall order for the government to scale in the foreseeable future. This is so evident as the recommended guidelines are at a tangent to the existing parameters of the national anti-terror policy. Currently, the stress is solely on a military conquest of the affected areas, which has gravely exacerbated the existing gulf between the parties to the conflict. This is being done in response to the core demand of the Pakistan-specific "do more" policy conceived and marketed by the United States. In pursuit of an abject compliance, the national government completely lost sight of its own national interests and priorities and opted to pit its armed forces against its own people in an ill-advised move that will have far-reaching repercussions in the future and would continue to adversely impact the security paradigm. The paramount question that should be asked under the prevalent circumstances is whether the government of Pakistan possesses the good sense and the resolve to reverse a policy that seems so deeply embedded in the PPP leadership psyche? The question assumes even greater importance in the light of the humiliating manner in which the incumbent government has surrendered its writ repeatedly before the continuing onslaught of the US administration led by their lowly ranking officials including Richard Boucher and Negroponte who come calling on our heads of state and government like they were on a stroll in their backyards. Red carpets are laid out every time they come charging in and a protocol befitting heads of government is accorded to them. Even the few genuine friends that Pakistan is left with are embarrassed on account of the display of an all-encompassing servile subservience by the 'democratic' government to please the visiting charlatans. Are there any further depths that we can stoop to? I am afraid the joint session resolution would go down the drain just like the Murree Declaration and the other accords did that were duly signed by none other than the incumbent president of Pakistan. This government has done an incomparable job in building an enviable reputation of not living up to its promises and written commitments in a mere seven months that the former dictator could not achieve in over eight years in power. Nothing would matter, certainly not the text of a voluble resolution passed by the joint session of the Parliament, when it comes to personal survival for the PPP leadership whose moves are tellingly constrained on account of the fetters they are wearing as a consequence of winning their reprieve courtesy the inimitable National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). While they sit and rule this hapless country, their strings are pulled from seas afar by those who stand guarantors to the contract that ultimately cost the former dictator Musharraf his seemingly unending stint in power. I also believe that the Parliament fell far short of public expectations by refraining from commenting on the illegal and immoral occupation of foreign lands by the marauding US juggernaut. This, in fact, remains the critical key in the effort to finding a lasting solution to the gradually increasing incidence of suicide assaults in the country. The root cause can be easily traced to the presence of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. If the world community is genuinely interested in finding a peaceful solution to the worsening crisis, it must begin to prevail on the US neo-con mindset to reverse its destructive perception of the world as a personal fiefdom that it can toy around with to gratify its inflated ego and whimsical predilections. While it is an auspicious matter for the joint session of the Parliament to recommend a way out of the crisis through its 14-point agenda that it has clearly outlined, it must also have come up with a viable mechanism to ensure that it would be implemented within a definitive period of time. Mere constitution of a special committee of Parliament to "periodically review, provide guidelines and monitor the implementation of the principles framed and roadmap given in the resolution" does not provide a guarantee that the recommended agenda would be effectively implemented. Also, there are no guidelines contained in the resolution that would be followed in case the government dithers in implementing the resolution. The memory of numerous botched commitments, both verbal and written, is too fresh to be forgotten. Remember the promise regarding the restoration of judiciary to its pre-November 3 position, on more than one occasion? Remember the promise of 'good news on Kashmir' in one month? Remember the cosmetic invocation to the Parliament to revisit the 17th amendment and 58-2(b)? It would be a grave travesty of justice if this resolution were also to go by the way of the previous pledges as that would nurture a trust deficit that would be impossible to bridge. Pakistan has been on the brink for too long. The economic bedevilment has further compounded the crisis. Our relations with our time-tested friends stand gravely strained. On the day the parliamentary resolution was adopted by the joint session, US drones struck a seminary in North Waziristan as a caustic reminder of how much they really care about our intent to safeguarding 'Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity'. The malaise runs deeper than can be seen and the solution would not be found in a perpetuation of the status quo. Instead, it would be found in dismantling dictatorship and its remnants that, today, occupy all seats of power in the country. The writer is a media and political consultant based in Islamabad E-mail: