The Kerry - Lugar Bill has raised a storm in our teacup, with heated and hysterical debates in our print and electronic media and chest-thumping, screaming slogans of betrayals and sell-outs. Citizens are being advised to look under their beds, as the Men in Black of the great Satan are about to descend upon us and the Saints will soon come marching in, whistling the Yankee Doodle. Well frankly, given the choice of the March of the Taliban, I would vote for the March of the Saints any day. What the K-L Bill is all about is for the experts to analyse, however, I have keenly followed the daily debates on our TV channels. From the arguments and comments by some of our leading anchors and 'senior economists, political observers and analysts, there is definitely some justification for the apprehensions expressed by many, including the PM and COAS. After 9/11, we were given the ultimatum of a, 'you are with us or against us choice and General Musharraf had opted, rightly or wrongly, for the 'With You option. After that, we became the darling of the west and were hailed as Americas most dependable ally and a front line state against terrorism. Billions of dollars were pumped into our coffers to fight terrorism, revamp our anti-terrorist systems and other development programs. But now, nine years down the line, nobody knows where the money went and once again, we are facing another 'take it or leave it situation and once again, we have very few options, as according to experts, Pakistan would not survive for six months without economical aid. Therefore, for an ordinary citizen like myself, the arguments and comments presented by senior columnists AC, Irfan Hussain and young Cyril Almeida in the Dawn last week, make a lot of sense. Just to get a broad perspective of the K-L Bill, I had sent out over 300 copies of the Bill through the email, with a simple question: 'Your personal view on the K-L Bill - GOOD OR BAD FOR PAKISTAN? Majority of the response was: 'I vote in favour of the KL Bill - Definitely good for Pakistan - The controversy over this bill is absolutely baseless - Beggars cant be choosers - It is a good bill and we should accept it. Another view was: - The K-L bill is totally rubbish - It is demeaning to us - The K.L. Bill is not in our interest - Can it can be called Kill Bill Vol. 1 - Very disgraceful, dont take it and take the tougher route to success - Good, only if the offending clauses are deleted from the bill. Therefore, we have a cross section of opinions and the only sensible thing to do would be to have a debate in the NA and senate, so that a common census could be reached. However, we must remember that we cannot eat the cake and have it too. We compromised on our 'sovereignty when we allowed the drone attacks and isnt stopping the army from interfering in the system of government and the judiciary, something we have all been demanding for years? So what is all the fuss about? Therefore, the debate should not be to play to the galleries or to protect the interests of a selected few, but in the best interest of the country and the 170 million deprived citizens of Pakistan. Parliamentarians must examine with honesty and sincerity, the track record of our past and present governments and how they mismanaged the huge amount of money they begged, borrowed and stole from Uncle Sam, his allies, Friends of Pakistan, our Arab brothers, World Bank, IMF, ADB, etc., over the last five decades. We must not be in a state of denial and must ask ourselves as to what have we to show against these massive, 'no questions asked loans and what great benefit have they passed on to the poor citizens, that we can be proud of? All this borrowed money was not spent in improving the quality of life of the ordinary citizens, but for flying around in private jets, driving around in the latest models of bullet proof Mercs, living in palatial bungalows and having a life style of the rich and famous. According to newspaper reports, our senators have spent over Rs 22 million in just four months, attending various conferences, etc. This amount could teach 2,200 children for a whole year, feed 50,000 people for an entire week or feed 2,500 people for four months. If we were a oil rich country, or the Asian Tiger which the world had assumed we would be in the 60s, then such lavish life style could perhaps be pardoned. But sadly, we are still a third world country, which lacks basic health, education facilities, and has a infrastructure that is pathetic. A country in which 18 women and children were recently crushed to death just for a bag of atta and sugar. Even our Muslim brothers and 'Friends of Pakistan do not trust us any more and treat us as Miskeens. Frankly, no bank or donor agency would fund any project of businessman or a CSO, having the track record of Pakistan. No doubt, we must not sell ourselves short, as America needs us as much as we need them. We are still a 'front line state in the war against terror and have been in the 'line of fire since 9/11, and have paid a heavy price, both in life and property. We must definitely not compromise on our sovereignty nor be bullied, intimidated or threatened by anybody or take dictation from any country, especially relating to our internal affairs, defence or the army. Therefore, if shove comes to a push, we too can play a 'tit for tat game. No aid - Then no cooperation on the 'war on terror program. I doubt if the Americans or the West would like to expose there citizens to another 9/11 type attack or risk their airports, subways, skyscrapers, schools, colleges, parks, etc from being under the threat of a terrorist attack. Sure, it will be tough going for us also, with food and water riots, long, dark, hot nights without electricity, chaos in the cities, closure of factories, unemployment, etc. It will also be tough for our 'self above all leaders, parliamentarians and their merry men, who will have to replace their Armani suits with khaddar and travel in Suzukis. We will also have to put our house in order and take a hard look at our system of governance and demand accountability of our leaders. But then, our track-record has never been very good at making personal sacrifices and giving up the 'good life. Let us hope for the best, but as the old song goes, 'Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. H. Maker (email: trust@super.net.pk).