My dear Ali: After the audacious bomb attack on that much-loved icon of Islamabad, the late lamented Marriott, there is so much to say in such little space that I must be crisp. Never lose hope. Lose hope and you've lost the war. It's surrender. Muslims never surrender. Marriott's owner, stoic and dignified in the face of tragedy and loss - grace under pressure - set the example in self-confidence: "We will rebuild it fast." Thus the terrorists won't win. There's a solution to everything. Think straight and re-think straight, unemotionally, rationally and ruthlessly. motto was Venceremos - "We shall overcome." Add that to our motto, "There is no god but Allah" and you cannot lose, because in saying this you make a Covenant with Allah to obey His commands. Break His Covenant and break yourself. Because Unity is central to Islam, unity has to be the fulcrum of our national life. God is Unity: La Illaha Il Allah - "There is no god but Allah." Now if we truly believe in the Unity of God, does it not naturally follow then that we too must unite and become one? We are His greatest creation. He blew His own spirit into Adam, which means that his progeny's souls are God's spirit. Which is why He says, "I am closer to you than your jugular." He gave Adam knowledge that has been transmitted down to us in our genes. He gave us free will to make choices between right and wrong. He made us His vicegerents on earth. Is it then not incumbent upon us to emulate God and unite? With unity we're winners. Without unity we're nothing. We don't stand a chance. Without unity we are Muslims in name only, by accident of birth, by dogma and ritual. Trashing our law enforcers is counterproductive, to say the least. It's fashionable in certain circles, but it's a suicidal fashion. See how brave the Marriott's security boys, official and private were as the smoking, spluttering bomb was about to explode? One even tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher Not one ran away. They died because they chose to, to save others. That's the stuff a real Muslim is made of. Would those who run them down so fashionably behave so bravely, those who wear millions of rupees worth of apparel and accoutrements on their bodies? They have too much material to lose. Can those who wear ties worth more than our per capita income know what sacrifice is? Who else is going to fight for us except our soldiers, sailors, airmen, police and paramilitary? They are from amongst us, not from Mars. Imagine how they feel when those very people whom they are laying down their lives for belittle them. How do you think the families of these martyrs feel, the mothers who willingly send their sons to die for us? Real heroes, they are the real shaheeds as defined in Islam, but do they get even a mandatory nod? Do they have parks and roads named after them? Soon they are forgotten and their families will... I won't even mention it. It is edifying that the hotel's owner has publicly promised to look after them forever, showing that not all the rich and powerful are heartless morons. Stand united with your government, any government, on issues of national survival. Draw the line between national survival and national damage. Opposing government on issues like the shortage of flour is your right, but don't impede it in our fight for survival. Disagree certainly, dissent vociferously, but provide sensible solutions too. It's easy to criticise when you're not in the hot seat. Remember, if our government fails in this fight, we all lose. Learn from your mistakes. Correct your strategies. Mulishly pursuing a losing course is tantamount to fortifying failure - the height of stupidity. America's policies have failed. So have ours. It's time America reviewed them and its relationship with its allies before the world goes up in flames. George Bush has finally admitted, too late alas, that America needs to review its strategy in Afghanistan. So do we. Force has failed. Deals have too. We have to win this war with ideas, better and more attractive than the terrorists' ideas - "We will bring shariah in the land." Say, "We will bring real Islam and God's real law in the land, starting with Haqooq ul Ibad, the Rights of God's Creation." And do it fast. Then see which idea attracts people more. Distinguish between real friends and friends with daggers up their sleeves. Confuse them at your peril. That this war is also somebody else's is supremely irrelevant. What's important is that it is our war, whether you like it or not. If we dump America or it withdraws, the war against us will intensify, for the terrorists would get a confidence boost. Liberating Afghanistan is the right of every Afghan. We suffered terrorism even before 9/11. If we choose to fight a common enemy together, it doesn't mean we are fighting America's war. Actually, it is they who are fighting our war, for we are terrorism's greatest victims. The terrorists' ultimate objective is to impose their own twisted version of Islam on us and everyone else, without ijma or consensus. We have to fight terrorism in our midst whether America does or not, to save our country from the dark abyss of the obscurant who hijacked our religion after we abdicated genuine scholarship and left the space vacant for him to occupy. While non-state terrorists have penetrated our society at the bottom, state terrorists have at the top. Pakistani sympathisers and agents in obscurant garb are enabling the former; Pakistani sympathisers and agents in liberal garb are enabling the latter. Both are supported by the ideologically confused. While our governments are swamped, our enemies are chipping away at the very edifice of our state. Son, get you priorities right. The disgraceful debate on whether the speaker's party was originally scheduled in the Marriott or not is a case in point. Who cares? Would real people's leaders throw lavish parties in the face of such hunger and poverty? Rs 500,000 will feed 250 overfed 'VIPs' at Rs 2,000 each. Rs 500,000 will feed 16,666 people at Rs 30 each. Does it behoove 'VIPs' to talk of poverty alleviation? The real problem is not Pakistan that supposedly doesn't "do more." The real problem is Afghanistan with a government of National Alliance headed by Mr Hamid Karzai. This family doesn't need American gas stations in any more. How much "more" can we do? More Pakistani soldiers have been martyred than any other. More innocent Pakistanis have been killed and butchered than in 9/11. More terrorists and their leaders have been eliminated by us than anyone else. They want us to catch Osama. Do they really? I wonder. Karzai and his Afghanistan have become a real problem for Pakistan. But God has put them next to us so we have to learn to live with them and teach them how to live with us. India is another huge problem, a large country with a small country mentality. But God has put them next to us too. On bad terms with all seven of its neighbours, are we expected to continuously believe that India alone is sane and the rest mad? When India's embassy in Kabul was bombed, it took Krazy Karzai one minute to blame Pakistan. If he is such a magician, why doesn't he also tell us where Osama is? India had the decency to take a few minutes more. Real Friend America joined the chorus a few days later. America's crazy thinking that has spread Indian intelligence agents all over Afghanistan to foment trouble in FATA and Balochistan? On whose side is America really? Does it truly want to win this war? We, on the other hand, are such stupid goody goodies that we still haven't said that the Marriott bombing was India's tit-for-tat for Kabul. Maybe you can buy 1,000 KGS of such lethal stuff in Delhi's Chandni Chowk, you certainly can't get it in Raja Bazaar. Where did it come from? In which lab was the bomb assembled? We stay quiet even after we find more sophisticated equipment with so-called Pakistani Taliban than our army has. Many are not even circumcised Have you ever heard of an uncircumcised Muslim Pathan? People who are out to circumcise the world not being circumcised themselves, unless they are non-Muslim agents of some non-Muslim country? Perhaps this is our 'civilised' way of pointing to India when we say that Muslims couldn't have committed this heinous crime Khudi means self-esteem. Self-esteem means self-reliance, breaking the begging bowl. Always tell the truth, but nicely. Truth means Haq. Haq means God. It is one of His 99 names. Iqbal our poet philosopher explained Khudi beautifully in this verse: Khudi's hidden secret is, La Illaha Il Allah. Khudi is the sword; its shield, "There is no god but Allah." The last verse of this great poem has become my inspiration. Even in the midst of hypocrisy, I don't follow the hypocritical mob. For I have been commanded to proclaim, La Illaha Il Allah - "There is no god but Allah." It means tell the truth, son, do the right thing, no matter what. God will look after you. The writer is a senior political analyst E-mail: