n Najam us Saqib Pakistans decision of taking side with the international community after the 9/11 incident is still debatable and the opinion differs from person to person. In my opinion, we had no other choice and we had to side with the international community to protect ourselves. The decision was a hard one, but we had to take that. The only thing which I think to be wrong in the decision is that our government at that time could not cash our position properly. We might have asked for huge financial, military and diplomatic support from the US and its allies so as to gain what we could not gain under normal circumstances. We could have used the fact of being the frontline fighter of the war against terror and justify our demands. However, after reading General (retd) Pervez Musharrafs article titled 9/11- could we have decided otherwise published in TheNation of June 6, 2011, it was quite a contentment that the man of office is sharing the real piece of information with the people. I, myself, had a different view about Pakistans response to the war against terror. But the information shared by the former President of Pakistan has really improved the picture of those events in my mind. Previously, I knew that we straight away agreed to all the seven conditions sent to us by the US. But Musharraf has cleared that misunderstanding when he explained that we gave counterproposals and those were accepted by USA. In my opinion, the decision was right although being a bit anti-Islamic and pro-West. The reason being that, after all we have to look at what is in the supreme interest of Pakistan. The details, which General (retd) Musharraf has shared, lay a sound ground for the correctness of the decision. For example, he says that if we did not agree, India was ever ready to afford all support. US-India collusion would obviously have trampled Pakistan to reach Afghanistan. Our airspace and land would have been violated At that time what we were to decide was whether we should side with the US and become its ally in the war on terror, or we should go against the combined forces of the world that obviously would involve the Indian forces as well. And the war would have started from the eastern side of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The fate of Pakistan would have been the same as that of Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, when Pakistans Foreign Office was given those seven conditions, I believe that we had to accept the conditions either one way or the other. But we might have given our own conditions too in order to use that situation for our benefit. The US and its allies would have accepted most, if not all, of our demands because they were to have an easy passage into Afghanistan for transporting their troops, surveillance, fuel and food supply. When talking about giving our conditions as well, most important of all is that we must have gone for cutting down of loans taken from the IMF and World Bank, as a token of being the frontline fighter of the war. We knew that our previous governments had taken enormous amounts of loans, and it was a golden chance to get rid of all of them. Our economic condition during Musharrafs regime was also impressive and it was improving. So, we could have easily made our point. We knew that when we would party with the international community against Afghanistan, the militant groups there would not like that and there would be massive terrorist attacks on Pakistan to destabilise it. Due to this fact, we might have demanded huge amount of financial aid to help run Pakistans affairs smoothly; this amount could later be used for socio-economic development projects. So when we decided to go for being pro-West, it was quiet evident that the militants would retaliate and open a battlefield in Pakistan. The proactive step would have been to ask the international community to help Pakistans armed forces by providing the latest weapons, so that it can protect itself. It is not that our military does not have weapons; I am trying to say that that was a chance for us to grab even those weapons, which we are prohibited to be sold to. As the repercussions of the war on terror, we saw increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan, which obviously ring warning bells in our ears. During Musharrafs reign, we witnessed rapid increase in the Indian influence in Afghanistan. Using the fact that we were the backbone of the war against terrorism, we should have gambled for limited intervention of India into Afghanistan. Although the then Government of Pakistan made quite right decisions, but if the above mentioned points would have been taken into account, and had we been successful in convincing the international community of our needs, Pakistan would have been standing in a position of strength right now, that is no loans to pay back, having state-of-the-art weapons, and no Indian threat from the northwestern side. n The writer is a political analyst. Email: Mrpious2003@gmail.com