Muhammad Ijaz ul Haq I have sat back, seen things as they develop to culmination phase, it will be a disservice to our sovereignty and blow to national cause if I fail to convey my conscience. My vision and wisdom guides me to realise that we have been forced to fight other's war. We have been dragged and compelled to act against ourselves. All along I have maintained, in the heart of hearts, that War on Terror is not our war, it was never our war and would never be so. We must thank our 'stars' that the new President of USA seems to be sensitive and responsive to Muslim sentiments. The damage done by his predecessor by 'Crusade' will take some practical retrieving of the actions from Guantanamo, Abu Gharaib to the lives of over a million killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The roadmap of withdrawing forces from Iraq (2012) should be followed by a similar roadmap for Afghanistan. But the way our vital nerve centres and powerful institutions, the army, ISI and the most important madrassa system have been focused leads one to believe that there is something beneath the bottom. I shall therefore be a collaborator if not corroborator not to speak my mind. Since its inception, Pakistan today faces innumerable problems, internal as well as external - and perhaps the biggest challenge to its survival. It has become the Theatre of Operations - both overt and covert, by a host of hostile forces. All conspiring and converging to defang, destabilise and destroy this Ideological Islamic State. To achieve this common goal, deceptive ploys have been invented and put in place, conducive conditions and environments have been created, to fuel the fire, operatives put in gear, multi-pronged strategies have been devised, coordinated and launched. With American nod, India in the lead, Israel in active connivance, Russia (Roped in Treaty of Friendship with India) licking its wounds inflicted by Pakistan in eighties, all longing and working for Pakistan's collapse. Stories about our country through media are being circulated shamelessly like the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in the case of Iraq. "Failing State", "Failed State", "Heaven for Terrorists", the more dreaded "Islamic Terrorists", "Fundamentalists", "Radical Islam", "Osama in Pakistan", "Mullah Omar seen in Quetta", "Nuclear Arsenal Unsafe", "Clash of Civilisations" - the hypothesis have been conceived and coined to isolate Pakistan. Diplomacy reduced to deceit and ditching, Maps of Pakistan have been redrawn and published showing it cut to size. As said earlier a multi-pronged strategy has been launched. If one may borrow military terminology, "Psy Ops" and "Deception Plans" have been chalked out - all intended to camouflage and conceal the real motive - and detract and divert opposing side's attention. Pakistan army has been made to believe and forced to accept that its own people are a threat to the country. It has been locked into a fierce endless war against its own citizens. The resultant effects are of devastating connotations. ISI has been subjected to a close individual/personal scrutiny to rid itself of officers and men with religious leanings and inclinations. US President Bush Jr declared that American civilisation or the American way of life only was to be practiced and acceptable to prevail in rest of the world. Islam is being projected as a Draconian way of life where whipping women, slitting throats, beheading and chopping heads and hands is the order of the day. The action and uttering of one odd person or a few is taken as that by an entire society. The realities are too visible to be wished away. Pakistan is being targeted and strangulated in broad daylight. The slide is suicidal. Muslim unity is an unattainable commodity, and national leadership too dwarf to steer and captain our ship - fast approaching for a 'bang'. The leaders, smiling to their cheeks, the grinners, insensitive to their toes, are being pitted, patted, and paid for self-destruction. The country is in a state of self-immolation. Colonialism and imperialism, in its cloned and improved form, still haunt the world (poor nations in particular) for global and regional hegemony. Soviet Union, before its collapse desperately tried to reach the warm waters. For this, all means of cooperation (?), coercion and confrontation were used. Friendly gestures were used to allure Pakistan into allowing Gwadar for "friendly shipping facilities." Threats to Pakistani highest leadership were directly conveyed that if there can be two Pakistan's there can be four Pakistan's. Surprisingly, the same can be said of USA. When in early eighties a high powered team under Mr Agha Shahi visited USA to expand the cooperation in order to halt Russian advance via Afghanistan to its desired destination, surprisingly the same demand for "port facilities" was put forward by the US administration. On refusal of Pakistan to bow, they were forced to drop the demand. In the guise of War on Terror many battlefields have been activated and operationalised. With enormous military might present in the close by waters, the allied and NATO forces have been tasked to supervise the fragmentation of Afghanistan. The Pashtuns have never been subjugated historically. It has always proved proverbially known to be a graveyard of foreign armies. The heroic resistance put up by them for their national pride and sovereignty has forced Mr Karzai's rule to Kabul only leaving the remaining vast expanse to the control of warlords. The country under Taliban leadership was much safer, peaceful and liveable. UN was gladly surprised on almost zero production of opium. Today the drug money is a booty for everyone. Had the west not imposed, northern alliance, a traditional adversary to Pakistan, the lacking areas could have been improved to satisfaction. The erstwhile Pashtun mujahideen and the genuine leadership were not allowed to contribute towards rebuilding Afghanistan after Soviet withdrawal. Afghanistan, with Hikmat Yar in Iran, Mujadadi and Gilani put ineffective, Haqqani, Sayyaf and Younas Khalis reduced to their confines could not benefit after the long struggle. As a common knowledge the UK seems to be a Tutor for allied and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Being the superpower of the time, a war veteran country of Anglo Afghan Wars I, II and III, its experience and War Diaries are being studied and taught for ground applications. The bitter fact to remember is in the lesson of the famous "Lone Survivor", the honoured Dr William Brydon and the much known "Last Soldier across Amu River." In Balochistan, the RAW is interfering to aggravate the secessionist feelings amongst Baloch nationalists. The angry Baloch leadership is in contact and collaboration with Indian State Organs. The latter through Afghanistan pouring men, money and material inside the province to destabilise the region. Unfortunately today both Pakistan and Iran see each other with suspicion thereby facilitating Indian handiwork. By abdicating to offer "No First Strike" option, we have weakened our advantageous position to allow others getting emboldened. While the adversary being aggressive and arrogant on bilateral issues, we sound apologetic. India, the newly discovered long time Strategic Ally of USA feels threatened to cry hoarse against Pakistan with nuclear teeth and strong army. Therefore the real aim is to not only de-Islamise our country to destroy its moral fibre/values but to de-militarise and ultimately de-nuclearise also. Our acrimonious friends have brought their own war to our soil to be fought inside Pakistan - at our own cost and peril. In US Doctrine of "Arc of Crisis", though being off by a few inches on Grid location, we cannot invoke any positive. Instead we find ourselves in the thick of crisis. Our leaders have been imported and imposed via NRO by the West. Only faade democracy has been the mechanism for bringing the most corrupt cronies to the fore. Efforts are afoot to see the demise of genuine patriotic Opposition Leadership - through an ostensible reconciliation. With their fortunes and funds in the foreign coffers, they have nothing at stake in Pakistan. Having lived in a unipolar world for a while almost two decades, it seems the bipolar world was more suited and safer for their existence for smaller and poorer nations. Till another Regional Block or Power Centre emerges, the western onslaught seems too difficult to contain. The Americans and allied forces as proved by recent surge are determined to stay and prolong their presence. According to one Think Tank it could possibly be upto 2040 or in conservative estimation for another 10 to 15 years. The aim is to: ? Keep an eye on China ? Explore Central Asian vast resources for economic exploitation ? Check Pakistan's nuclear capability and Iran's peaceful nuclear programme/ambitions. Wars of attrition have been fought in recent history. Nations have faced Total Wars where scores of cities and towns were razed and millions killed. As is said, victory has many fathers while defeat has none. Not only have the victorious nations flourished but the nations facing total defeat have become victorious in re-emerging and rise to dignity and pride through visionary and committed leadership. In our case the damage and destruction is not that colossal. Led by capable leadership we can live through the present crisis triumphantly. We need God fearing, selfless, indigenous leadership. Once it is available, we as a nation can rise and meet the contemporary challenges squarely. Allah has given us enormous strength to stand on our own feet. With true faith in Islam, nuclear Islamic State with potent military strength, complete national cohesion and above all a visionary native leadership, we can play a vital role in the regional and Islamic World. The nation is well geared for a march forward - Insha Allah. In the face of these alarming developments we need not be browbeaten and cowed down. We need to unite and have confidence in our own selves. Need of the hour is for a collective rethink, honest reappraisal, an accurate stock taking and some serious soul searching. Our priorities and policies must be in consonance with our status as a sovereign, independent Islamic State. The national institutions be developed and strengthened, more so the Parliament, Judiciary and the Executive, all geared to perform their mandated functions. The Parliament must be made supreme, the recommendations of Parliamentary Committee be made to see the light of the day. The writer is a former minister for religious affairs E-mail: ulhaq.ijaz@gmail.com