THE Tuesday meeting between the US and Pakistani top brass aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln has, unlike a similar meeting a month ago, gone quite well. Speaking at the Pentagon after the meeting, Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm Mike Mullen expressed satisfaction that Pakistan's focus on terror war was finally on target and that COAS Gen Kayani was moving in the right direction. In the same breath however he indicated that Islamabad or Washington could do a better job, which paraphrased in simple language means Pakistan needs to do more. The Tuesday meeting was held while the military operation in Bajaur Agency, initiated about a month back, was in full swing. A similar operation was also being conducted in Swat. The US had lately shown dissatisfaction with the multi-pronged approach, stressing dialogue, which was pursued earlier by Islamabad and which suited the country best. The NWFP government had meanwhile complained that despite brokering an agreement the militants continued their activities, that included attacks on girls' schools and police and FC posts. The militants on the other hand maintained that the government had failed to fulfil its obligations under the agreement. Subsequently Islamabad handed over the responsibility to take decisions regarding the tribal areas to the Army Chief. The people of Pakistan are being required to pay a heavy price for the change in policy. The military operations have caused considerable dislocation of the local population. According to the PM's Interior Adviser, about 300,000 people from FATA have been rendered homeless. There have been reports of non-combatants falling victim to shelling and air attacks by helicopter gunships and planes. This has caused an uproar and led to protests in Bajaur. A large number of the displaced persons consists of women and children, who have been lodged in makeshift shelters having insufficient facilities. Suicide attacks which had ceased after parleys with the militants have again started, taking place avowedly as retaliation against military operations. Two major suicide attacks this month have taken a toll of over one hundred innocent lives. What Senator Joe Biden, now running-mate of Democrat Presidential nominee Barack Obama, has said about FATA being the central front in the War On Terror, indicates that Pakistan will continue to pay a heavy price unless it persuades the US that what is needed to deal effectively with militancy is a holistic policy, rather than quick fixes. Had Admiral Mullen not told the media about the meeting between the US and Pakistani top brass, we would still have been in the dark about it. One fails to understand why authorities in Islamabad do not take into confidence their own people who are directly effected by decisions taken at such meetings.