Pakistan Army has attained the reputation of suppressing the weak and surrendering to the powerful. Balochistan and Swat are cases in point. President Zardari's carefully planned move of passing the buck onto Parliament rather than straightaway signing the controversial Nizam-i-Adl Regulation was preceded by the army's humiliating retreat from Swat where it was brought to its knees by militants led by Mullah Fazlullah. Compared to the continuing repression in Balochistan where the military operations are showing no sign of abating the Malakand Division saw our sacred saviours make collateral damage an excuse to withdraw in haste, leaving the poor Swatis at the mercy of the armed-to-the-teeth militants. The subsequent explanation that the army decided to withdraw from the restive region because it genuinely felt that it no longer enjoyed the support of the local population had to be taken with a pinch of salt. It was their appalling lack of commitment and capability to fight the growing militancy that led the people to turn their back on the defenders of our sovereignty. The prolonged military operation ended up massacring citizens rather than targeting militants who not only managed to regroup in the restive region but also re-emerged much stronger than before, following the peace deal drama that was brought into play by the so-called secular ANP leadership in collaboration with Maulana Sufi Muhammad. It was disconcerting to find President Zardari taking refuge behind parliament and cowing down to the elements who feel no qualms about making mockery of democracy. The political leadership did the greatest disservice to the nation by bulldozing through the National Assembly the legislation that might eventually result in the country losing a major chunk of its territory to those who disrespect the state and everything it stands for. The MQM abstained but failed to show spine to vote against the bill. It however did not take Mian Nawaz Sharif too long to realise after his party had shot itself in the foot by endorsing the Shariat Regulation that the Taliban are "now threatening to get out of Swat and take other areas into their custody. So we have got to avoid that situation". It was probably the Americans new found infatuation for him that might have constrained him to distance himself from the religious right. The long period of exile he had spent with the kid brother doing some saner counselling for him, whenever he was awake and not enjoying the traditional Lahori cuisine with Cousin Suhail Zia Butt, has turned him into a mature politician who could understand the need for saving the country from the impending danger of Talibanisation. Somehow trivialising the issues concerning the country's sovereignty has come to characterise the one and only Qazi Hussain Ahmad. It was no surprise to hear from him that the shooting of guns left Zardari and Asfandayar with no choice but to capitulate to the Taliban's demand for the enforcement of Shariah. But no less amusing was Jamaat-i-Islami Amir Syed Munawwar Hassan's pithy comment that Maulana Sufi Muhammad might have had a trace of infidelity when he once contested election under the Constitution of Pakistan. Come of age Comrade Munawwar Hassan This brings us back to the gallantry of our sacred soldiers whom the nation would always find in the state of preparedness to take on the militants in Swat provided the country's political leadership decides in the greater national interest not to place any curb on their only expertise of committing collateral damage. Perhaps all that they would want is a solid guarantee that they would not be blamed for killing more citizens than the militants. They are well within their right to claim that they have never surrendered willingly at least when fighting their worst enemy - the unarmed countrymen. Balochistan is the one such example. As if killing pro-federalist Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti was not enough, they are in no mood to withdraw from the province without pushing it to the edge of a precipice. If the Baloch were forced to take up arms against Musharraf's most repressive regime in the past his legacy continues to haunt them. Mr Rehman Malik, whose principal claim to fame are his nasty utterances and warnings to the people to be wary of possible acts of terrorism anywhere in the country, has virtually provided justification for the army operation to continue by casting aspersions on the patriotism of Baloch nationalists. Maybe with friends like him Mr Zardari needs no enemies to bring his government down faster than expected.