WATCHING the two US presidential hopefuls on the TV screen wrangle over the issue of militancy that, they believe, mainly stems from Pakistan's tribal region, fuels insurgency across into Afghanistan, endangers the lives of the US and NATO troops operating there and prolongs the War On Terror, it appeared that there was merely a difference of nuance between them on how they intended to go about putting an end to it. Characteristic of his forthright style, Democrat Barack Obama vowed to launch military strike in case Islamabad was "unable or unwilling" to act against a high-profile Al-Qaeda target the Americans had spotted. Republican John McCain tried to put a gloss over the same approach by saying that he "would not publicly state" that the US forces were going to attack because that would be unhelpful. Senator McCain would work through the Pakistan government to face the challenge, suggesting that his administration would strike targets within its territory with its consent. Thus, the next occupant of the White House would, in essence, not have any qualms in disregarding Pakistan's sovereign right to handle such issues on its own as it deems fit. One would act peremptorily without waiting for Islamabad's nod; the other would take it into confidence. Senator Obama's criticism of the Bush administration for supporting General Musharraf at the cost of the goodwill of Pakistani people was no doubt justified, but he would be too naive (and that of course he is not) to imagine that by defying the sanctity of the country's sovereignty he would be making amends. He seemed not to bother about the sensitivities of the people and held a grouse for, what he thought, "they (the Pakistan government) have not done what needs to be done to get rid of these safe havens", though the US had pumped an enormous sum of $10 billion into the country. The heavy cost Pakistanis have been paying - loss of precious lives of soldiers and civilians, terrorist attacks, rampant insecurity - for getting on the US bandwagon accounts for little in his eyes. Compared to that stance, Senator McCain viewed the scenario somewhat differently. He valued the people's backing. "We have got to get the support of the people of Pakistan," he maintained. Remaining on the issue of terrorism, one would like President Zardari to substantiate his view that President Bush's leadership has made the world "a safer place". This perception is at sharp variance with the common opinion of expert observers of events as well as of the general public. In any case, it would be difficult to reconcile it with his other statement that the axis of evil was growing. Only a just redress of grievances of the people under exploitation of powerful states could herald a safer world.