There has been a continuous give and take between Pakistan and the US since 1954 when General Ayub Khan entered into military alliances of SEATO and CENTO. By early 1958 the US had come to regard Ayub as their man to dismantle the decaying political system of Pakistan. Ever since then we are dependent on the US economic and military aid. To deceive himself and the world, the general termed his relations with the US as 'Friends Not Masters. This deception continues even today. On September 24, a high profile meeting of the so-called 'Friends of Democratic Pakistan was held in New York under the joint chairmanship of President Zardari, President Obama and British PM Brown. All the friends who had pledged assistance for Pakistan backed out quietly, except President Obama who saved the day by announcing that the US Senate has approved a compromise legislation to triple the aid package to $ 1.5 billion per year for the next five years. As soon as the details of the Kerry-Lugar Bill were revealed a storm of protest rose in the print and electronic media calling the conditions laid down in the Bill as surrender of Pakistans sovereignty. This is not entirely true. All aid or loan packages contain certain conditionalities to protect the interests of the countries or banks that give the money. A recent example is an increase in the electricity tariff by the government at a rate of 6 to 18 percent, despite the fact that there is extreme shortage of electricity in the country which has made life miserable, and has most adversely affected industrial production. The government was forced to increase the electricity charges by 6 percent immediately and withdraw the subsidy under its agreement with the IMF. In fact, the IMF staff is permanently stationed in Islamabad to monitor the governments performance and ensure that its conditionalities are scrupulously fulfilled. And mind you, the IMF is also charging heavy interest on its loans. Despite all this, we are begging for its loans that we desperately need to run the country. The clauses which have particularly irked the people are: Clause 1: To strengthen Pakistans counterinsurgency and counter terrorism strategy to prevent any territory of Pakistan from being used as a base or conduit for terrorist attacks in the country or elsewhere. Clause 2: To assist efforts to improve counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering structure to achieve international standards. Clause 3: An assessment of whether assistance provided to Pakistan has directly or indirectly aided the expansion of Pakistans nuclear programme at the cost of programmes unrelated to it. Clause 4: An assessment of the extent to which Pakistan government exercises effective civilian control of the military, to what extent civilian executives and Parliament exercise oversight and approval of military budgets, and military involvement in civil administration. All this reflects Americas concern over any possible proliferation of nuclear technology and the extent of military control over civilian democratic government. The interference in the affairs of Pakistan is certainly not desirable like US drone attacks on Pakistans territory. But Pakistan has not only allowed them but has also provided them runway facilities. In any case these conditions have been agreed upon by Pakistans incumbent leadership. However, if any other option is available we should try it first. One that I would suggest is to be self-reliant and get rid of the foreign aid as early as possible. The countries which get addicted to foreign aid lose their sovereignty and self-respect. The European countries which were destroyed in the Second World War rebuilt themselves with the US aid under the Marshal Plan and then got rid of the aid. Either we should do this or go on living as we are. The writer is former director news, PTV.