There have been blasts in every large city of Pakistan, the latest and worst being the one at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad. Each time we are shocked, surprised and depressed. These reactions are based on the irrational assumption that "the war going on in the far-off land, the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, has nothing to do with us and would not hurt us unduly". We are shocked when the smell of explosives wafts into our homes in Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad. The sooner we realise that this war is upon us, like the two we fought in the 60s and 70s, the more prepared we will be to cope with it. In a war, explosions and casualties, blood and gore, are routine matters. In this insurgency that we have on our borders, militants who disagree with the form of Islam being practiced by our majority, are fighting us. These militants want to capture the whole of Pakistan. After having tasted power in neighbouring Afghanistan, they will not be content until they have wrested out the control of the entire country from our hands. Our media has to recognise its responsibility in this war. Is it necessary for the media to keep repeating the bad news so much and discuss only the negatives of the situation, with out providing any hope of some end in sight? Getting rid of an unpopular government is one thing, but when future of the country is at stake, some sort of self-restraint should be observed. British, American, even Indian television channels are far more circumspect, mindful of their national responsibility when reporting on nationally sensitive issues. -MUHAMMAD ARSHAD NADEEM, Islamabad, via e-mail, October 12.