Realistically speaking no state in the world is a sovereign state in the real sense of the word as defined by great philosophers beginning from Socrates down to Hobbes.

Yet in our context the term has taken on a whole new range of connotation. Among other facets, the degree of sovereignty enjoyed by a state depends on the kind of control it is able to exert on itself. If it fails to control any of its parts that keep quivering and twitching, that means it has lost sovereignty over those areas.

Pakistan’s case falls into this definition. By granting sanctuary to non-state actors the state seems to have lost control over many of its areas and worse its failure to fend for itself in time of distress and hunger means it has to look for foreign largesse. It doesn’t matter from wherever it comes so far as it keeps us fully fed.

Now things have come to such a pass we cannot even think of annoying our benefactors such as US and other money lending institutions. But then that is the price you have to pay. Remember there are no free lunches. Exercising this kind of ‘independence’ does have its side effects, over whose complications the state has apparently no cure. At the end of the day a pragmatic approach is all that keep harping on despite the fact that pragmatism a philosophy purported by John Dewy is the last thing we have ever prayed for.

With drones flying and swarming on our skyline in their dozens, the quandary Pakistan is faced with -- particularly in the wake of Hakimullah’s killing -- is fraught with various risks threatening the way people think who their heroes are.

But it is indeed satisfying to note that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif instead of going along the wishes of the ‘ghairat brigade’ and accepting the pressure from the religious elements and political novices like Imran Khan---who want disruption of NATO supplies has exhibited a great sense of pragmatism in dealing with the situation.

What Imran Khan and his brigade of social media supporter are saying, may seem like playing to the gallery. The utterly confused stance taken by him regarding blocking NATO supplies is fraught with grave consequences.

Sealing off the border or the national highways and roads is the responsibility as well as the prerogative of the federal government rather than the provincial government. Any unilateral action by PTI setup in KPK will almost mean a sort of a rebellion against the federation. The approach lacks legal as well as constitutional ground. It could only add to the difficulties of the country rather than pushing it towards a workable solution. It may also cause the Nato and US troops to prolong their stay in Afghanistan. Obviously Mr Khan would not want that. He must try to cool off because a captain that he is, he will only lose sight of the goal that he intends to achieve.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif exhibiting better sense of judgment has rightly decided to restrict his reaction to aerial strikes only to protestation through diplomatic channels.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz has reportedly been entrusted with the responsibility to engage in a dialogue with the US to seek its assurance for either ending drone attacks altogether or halting them for the time being. This is to create an environment of trust among the Fazlullah led TTP to bring it back on the table of negotiations.

Pakistan needs and is seeking US help for exploration of  shale gas reserves, credit lines for construction of Bhasha–Diamir Dam, installation of coal based power projects, aid to fund US$1.4 billion gas pipeline contemplated to carry natural gas -- by transforming the imported LNG -- from Karachi to Lahore. In the meanwhile, two high level delegations headed by the Minister for Petroleum and natural resources and Minister for Water and Power will be traveling to Washington to hold negotiations with the US officials to firm up the deals in these areas. Islamabad also needs US assistance under CSF to meet its other economic needs. Washington has recently approved an assistance package of US $1.6 billion for military and economic purposes.

Any irrational decision at this moment might jeopardize the goodwill forcing US to take measures including our diplomatic isolation at the international level and in the extreme eventuality dubbing Pakistan a state supporting terrorism. In his latest book ‘Magnificent Delusions’ Hussain Haqqani is already warning that the possibility is staring us in the face. A reality check is in order to assess our faults lest we should be dubbed even by our friends as terrorist sympathizers.

The writer is a freelance columnist.

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