Barrister Haaris Ramzan The recent American threat to Pakistan about the latters alleged links with the Haqqani network has brought the country on the brink of an all-out war. The most important question is that what would be the US modus operandi with respect to the fulfilment of its aspirations. Whether it would be a surgical strike in the form of precision bombing through drones or other state-of-the-art fighter jets; would America risk sending its troops for a covert operation similar to the Osama bin Laden (OBL) saga or it would be mere assertions and political pressure, including the cessation of civil and military aid to Islamabad. As a whole, the entire scenario seems dangerous putting Pakistan under immense pressure locally and internationally. Several intellectuals, politicians and personnel from the military hierarchy have given their side of the arguments, but there are certain aspects that need further clarification. Initially, the American approach must be analysed. Since September 11, 2001, Pakistan has emerged as a strong ally in the war on terror and has lost more soldiers than the US/NATO forces. The alleged working of the Haqqani network is on the Pak-Afghan border area, which is huge and extremely porous in nature. A closer look at the events of the last 10 years would reveal that the US/NATO troops even with their highest level of surveillance and technology have been unable to stop infiltration between the neighbouring States. In addition, recently to their utter failure, a band of militants infiltrated in Pakistan and killed more than 30 Pakistani troops. This is a serious situation and must be analysed in its true context. Will this give Pakistan the justification to bombard the bordering posts of US/NATO troops for their inability to stop the tragic incident? Mere allegation of ISI involvement is certainly no logical justification for an aggressive manoeuvre. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been on the receiving end. And the failure to the best of my understanding is purely internal in nature. It is still very unfortunate to note that we as a nation have failed miserably to learn from our past mistakes. The reason is either we dont want to change ourselves or rather are ill-equipped to understand the intricacies. Often the Foreign Office, the establishment and the federal government run completely on different tangents. The prime examples are the Raymond Davis and OBL ignominy. It is completely non-comprehendible that how much time it takes to just peruse the list of documents at the Foreign Office to ascertain whether a person is a diplomat or not. Further, Article 31 of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations 1961 is very clear and crisp. The then Foreign Minister of Pakistan was so naive that he completely misunderstood the law nor could his legal team comprehend the situation. Why such things happen, as a matter of routine in Pakistan and not as an exception? With respect to the OBL incident, a blatant violation of international law that has manifestly defeated the purposes of the United Nations (UN), the State has again failed to find solutions. Has the permanent mission of Pakistan launched an aggressive campaign to highlight this illegality? Did the Foreign Office seek formal justification from Washington for the denial of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter that prevents states from transgressing each others borders? Rather to our utter fright, our President wrote an article in an American newspaper endorsing and congratulating the US government for its excellent work. He did not even bother to consult a specialist about the repercussions of such a statement on Pakistans image and perception at the international level. Rather than criticising the entire operation as a violation, an endorsement on his part has made the State a laughing stalk in the eyes of international law academia as well as jurists. At present what needs to be done is to bridge the gap. Recently, I was in America on a programme devised by the US Department of State and its purpose was to acquaint young Pakistani lawyers about the American legal system. It goes beyond saying that it was an excellently devised event and there were some learning outcomes that must be shared. Firstly, there is a huge misconception about the American 'people (not the administration), who follow almost all the important ordains of our religion. Secondly, they are at the height of their intellectual learning and the maximum emphasis is on education. The American universities have the best infrastructure that is most conducive for research. Thirdly, regarding the drone strikes within Pakistan by the US/NATO troops, there is a consensus building among the American people, who are outrightly rejecting the idea. As Pakistanis, we must devise a clear strategy. The State and sub-State organisations will have to realise the importance of technical people working at the right place, meaning the right person for the right job. Pakistans foreign policy cannot be formulated unless experts in international law and international relations are consulted. The highest focus should be laid on research and for that our major resources must be diverted to the educational institutions and think tanks of Pakistan. People-to-people contact should be encouraged, which would instigate a debate and matters can be understood in a better manner. We Pakistanis are a civilised nation that has the ability to achieve and compete with the best. Let us all now vow that we will tackle the undue influence of the Western powers through knowledge - a virtue on which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had laid the highest emphasis. The writer is a practicing barrister and advocate of the High Courts of Pakistan and an alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) organised by the US Department of State. Email: haarisramzan@hotmail.com