IF Secretary Hillary Clinton suspected Pakistan of hiding the truth about Al-Qaeda, she would have known by the time she left for home that those with whom she had interacted here had not been so enamoured of her rationalisation of questionable deals between the two governments. They had been, in fact, put off by her evasiveness when confronted with questions of concern to them and doubted her explanations in equal measure. Imagine as high a US official as Secretary of State visiting a frontline state in the war on terror, who is unfailingly kept abreast of important developments by the vast official propaganda machinery And then imagine Ms Clinton being unaware of the incident of US diplomats caught roaming around with unlicensed arms on the streets of Islamabad at 3 O'clock in the morning. Remember that since they hold diplomatic passports, it becomes a direct concern of the State Department whose portfolio she holds. She must have felt embarrassed while pleading ignorance, no doubt, though schooled in diplomatic norms first as the First Lady and now as the top US diplomat she managed to hide her embarrassment well. But she must have felt that her remarks cut no ice with the audience. The same story would hold good for her assurances that the Kerry-Lugar Act did not impinge on Pakistan's sovereignty. When Secretary Clinton met PML-N leadership, including Mian Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, during her visit to Lahore on Thursday, she found the discussion centring round Washington's disregard of Pakistani nation's sensitivities. Be it the drone attacks that callously destroy innocent lives, occasionally taking out an Al-Qaeda operative, or the humiliating conditionalities of the Kerry-Lugar Act, or be it the loose canon Xe Worldwide (Blackwater) and its subsidiaries - all reflect painful onslaught on Pakistan's sovereignty. In the face of stark facts, her denials just did not work. Apart from expressing reservations on these issues, which Mian Nawaz asked Ms Clinton to remove, he also drew her attention towards President Obama's thesis (now lying buried under the Indian pressure) that peace in South Asia hinges on a just solution of the Kashmir dispute. However, if she had thought that at some forum at least she would run into people on the same wavelength as the US policymakers, she was up for a bitter disappointment. The businessmen Ms Clinton met at Governor House Lahore had their own grievances about accessing the US market. Her recipe for Pakistan economy's fast growth by opening up trade with India was not so appetising for them. Looking at the objective of removing misconceptions of Pakistanis for which Secretary Hillary Clinton had taken the trouble of coming here, one cannot help feeling that it was an abortive exercise and she went away fully conscious of that failure.