There is one matter over which there is solid international and national consensus - the fact that this country is beset by troubles galore, the majority being a direct result of inept and selfish leadership, encompassing social, financial and political woes. Added to this is a national attitude, adopted by leaders and the led, which has stripped Pakistan of even one iota of respect from the rest of the world - or of many of its own citizens. The continuing trend of anti-Americanism and ambivalence to homegrown terrorism is getting us nowhere, particularly when the begging bowls are out in full force. Psychopathic Pakistanis blow up their fellow citizens and the average Pakistani Khan blames the US. As the average American Joe has it, rather than complain about the USA and the rest of the world at large, Pakistan would do well to at least try and act with some responsibility and realise that there is something radically wrong with a society that produces homegrown suicide bombers and mass murderers, and blames other countries, glossing over the violence in its own midst. This happened in the much lauded joint session of Parliament when after a wasted two weeks its uninterested (there was nothing in it for them) divided and divisive members failed to agree on a basic fact of Pakistani life. Is it not shaming that neither the might of a half-million strong army and the will of over 400 elected and unelected politicians can make up its collective mind as how to combat an evil that blights the country? Not that acts of terrorism are a phenomenon of this century - Pakistan suffered from countless terrorist attacks all through the 1990s. It is the suicide bombers who have now risen to cause death and destruction. They must be condemned. We cannot shut our eyes and ears to evil as many in the country are wont to do merely because they bear an unreasonable hatred for the US. For instance, the other day on a television channel a former member of the intelligence services, when asked by a fellow panelist whether he condemned not only the ISAF incursions over our borders but the killings by the Taliban, which far outnumber those of the ISAF forces, flatly refused to do so, thus tacitly admitting that he sees nothing wrong in Taliban activities. This is frightening, as it may well also illustrate the mindset of the present intelligence services which form a vital part of Pakistan's war on terrorism. So, here we are, sandwiched between a surging terrorism and an economic breakdown, with the leadership, such as it is, certainly sheltered from the latter. The beloved leaders, whose prime concern is trumpeted to be the welfare of the equally beloved awam, are sprinting from capital to capital, waving large begging bowls, pleading for bailouts, only to be rejected by their closest and best friends, stretching from Saudi Arabia through the Gulf all the way to Beijing and on to Washington because those they are begging from are fully aware of their untrustworthiness when it comes to the billions they are seeking. This latest breakdown on the economic front is blamed squarely on banker made Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz of the preceding government whose short-term policies were disastrous - and what does the government do, it appoints another banker with the common first name of Shaukat as its unelected finance minister. Now, how much confidence can this appointment boost in Washington and other capitals? Shaukat Aziz, to the best of our knowledge, never brought his money back to Pakistan - it stayed safely abroad. Tarin should declare what assets he holds abroad and as a measure of confidence in the revival of his own economy bring whatever he has back into the country's banks. The beseeched lenders are also fully aware, having been made so via the international press over the past decade, of the financial standing of the president of the Republic and of the other man who would like to be in his place, Nawaz Sharif. Even Rehman Malik is said to have millions standing in his name. They have enough between them to easily bring instant relief to Pakistan were they to bring back into the country just half of what they collectively hold in various countries abroad. This would boost not only the confidence of the people in whose name they hold their various positions, but also that of the potential donors in front of whom they dangle their begging bowls. Two unrelated incidents took place in Islamabad recently for which we must all hang our heads in shame. In the October 17 joint session on terrorism Ishaq Dar, once finance minister when the PPP-PML coalition briefly flourished, suggested that were the information minister - a woman - to take part in the negotiations between the two parties there should be two female members to represent one male. Do we need such thinking? Then, to quote from an October 21 editorial in this newspaper: "The roughing-up of legal expert Sharifuddin Pirzada by lawyers at Benazir Bhutto airport in Islamabad on Sunday is a sad commentary on the movement launched by the lawyers' community and their vision to uphold the rule of law." Has an apology been tendered to Mr Pirzada? The writer is a freelance columnist E-mail: