Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has reached America on his first state visit representing Pakistan which at present is in a leaderless drift even after four months of the February elections. He is undertaking this visit when the country's economy is in worst shape to say the least. Inflation, sky rocketing prices of consumers' goods and up steep charges of electricity, petrol, and gas is making life of the people miserable. America was coasting along very well with Pakistan before February elections, dealing with one person, General Pervez Musharraf in uniform for best part of the time since Secretary of State Colin Powel obtained President Musharraf's positive response to be a partner in war against terrorism. America eulogised his efforts in fighting the terrorists, handing over to USA over six hundred alleged terrorists including high value targets like Khalid Shaikh or deployment of Pakistani troops along the Afghan border to stem flow of terrorists to and from Afghanistan. Despite criticism of Musharraf by the congress, senate and the media for not doing more, President Bush reposed lot of confidence in "my friend Musharraf." The Pakistani leader was accorded a red carpet reception each time he visited White House before 2006.A rare honour was lined up for Musharraf when the US president received him at Camp David (2003), a place where only very few of the few American friends are invited. The Pakistani fighting machine was given huge funds (over $7 billion) for equipping it with modern arms and electronic gadgets for surveillance .In addition, about US$3 billion economic aid was also given since 9/11. The Americans faced a situation of stalemate after the elections as it was not clear with whom they take up matters relating to lack lustre efforts of the Pakistan war on terrorism because confusion prevailed as to who is the final authority in Pakistan. Is it the president, the prime minister or the army's chief of staff. The coalition partners in Pakistan are barely functioning since PML-N pulled its ministers from the cabinet in May over a dispute on the reinstatement of 60 judges dismissed by the incumbent president on November 3 last year. The American commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Dan K McNeill, recently described the government as dysfunctional. The New York Times dated June 24 wrote, "Although the political parties and the military, all seek a breather from the suicide bombings and nascent insurgency that have roiled Pakistan in recent years, there are fundamental disagreements over the problem of militancy that they have not begun to address. The confusion American's feel is allowing the militants to consolidate their sanctuaries while spreading their tentacles all along the border area. It has also complicated policy for the Bush administration, which leaned heavily on one-man, President Pervez Musharraf, to streamline its antiterrorism efforts in Pakistan. That Pakistan's government appears broken is not surprising, analysts say. "Pakistan's civilian institutions were atrophied by eight years of military rule, and the country's major political parties were left rudderless by the absence of their leaders, who lived in exile much of that time. The assassination of Ms Bhutto in December left her party in even deeper disarray. The military remains the country's strongest institution, having ruled Pakistan for about half of the country's 60 years of independence." An editorial of the New York Times said, "United States has made a lot of policy mistakes in Pakistan - most notably supporting Pervez Musharraf for far too long. It has forfeited most of its credibility with the Pakistani people and reinforced their belief that the fight against extremism is "Washington's war" and not also their own. Both countries have a common and increasingly urgent interest in rolling back the power of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and working together to promote democracy and development in Pakistan. "President Bush needs to persuade Pakistan's leaders of that - and he needs to do it now, before Al-Qaeda and the Taliban get any stronger. The United States also needs to work with Pakistan's new government to establish spending priorities and to ensure that any future aid is channelled in ways that would strengthen the civilian government and allow it to regain control over a military. When Pakistan's prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, visits Washington later this month, President Bush should offer him strong political and economic backing in exchange for a firm commitment to support Afghanistan's embattled government and fight Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorism in Pakistan. "Sending United States troops into Pakistan's border regions to try to clean out Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces is also not the answer - and would provoke even fiercer anti-American furies across Pakistan. Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters in Pakistan's border region pose a grave threat to the Pakistani people. More than a thousand Pakistanis have been killed in terrorist attacks in the past year, mostly in the border areas where radical fighters are strongest." Senior administration officials, including top military officers, are also voicing increasing exasperation with Pakistan's efforts to combat militants along the border with Afghanistan. Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said in a TV interview, "We need Pakistan to put more pressure on that border." Since the elections when Musharraf became practically ineffective in the context of Pak-US relations, the US administration took a number of diplomatic initiatives to encourage the civilian government for strengthening democracy and to push it to "do more" to fight terrorism. The talks with Gilani are likely to hover around the policy of stick and the carrot. As for the stick, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, would be in for a serious discussions on his government's efforts to forge agreement with militants but United States is not amused by Pakistan's initiative for deals with terrorists. The US government, congressmen, senators and media have been critical about the dispensation of funds provided to Pakistan for fighting the terrorists. The serious allegations of misuse of the funds by the Pakistan army were so widely reflected in the media that Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani took pains to explain the country's position to the media and the US authorities. The prime minister would be faced with a pile of problems while finding a meeting ground between the US interests in the region and constraints on his government regarding war on terrorism which Pakistanis feel its not theirs. Besides Pakistani leaders have publicly expressed concern on the growing American interference in the internal affairs of the country. Coalition partners are critical about NATO's bombing in tribal areas in which civilian and security men have been killed. The carrot part of parleys would be to shower more money to the civilian government to tide over its financial difficulties it is facing these days. Much before Gilani's visit the Bush administration had announced plans to shift US$230 million in aid to Pakistan from counterterrorism programmes to upgrading the country's ageing F-16 attack planes .The timing of the action caught lawmakers off guard, prompting some of them to suspect that the deal was meant to curry favour with the new Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani. The visit comes at a times when relations are some what tense between the US and Pakistan's new civilian government, which much to dislike of the US, is engaged in peace talks with the militants .It is a great opportunity for Gilani to convince President Bush and his government about the necessity for more financial aid to his government, to what limits his country can go in the war against terrorism and prove as an astute salesman for Pakistan's policies. Good luck Mr Gilani The writer is a former diplomat