“In Pakistan on Tuesday,” to quote a New York Times report, “the decision to open the supply routes was met with a sense of befuddlement.”If further said that the accord that came together on Monday in Islamabad after weeks of behind-the-scene phone calls, emails and meetings between one of Mrs Clinton’s deputies Thomas R Nides and a top Pakistani diplomat, “reflected a growing realisation by Pakistani officials that they had overplayed their hand misjudging Nato’s resolve.” The report further observed that the accord was “a recognition on both sides that the impasse risked transforming an often rocky relationship into a permanently toxic one at a critically inopportune time.”The precipitation of the “deal” has in certain quarters been attributed to mounting pressures on Pakistan, including two new developments. One, the recent handing over of a suspected mastermind Abu Jandal to India by the Saudi government providing fresh munition to accuse Pakistan’s leading intelligence agency of direct involvement in the Mumbai terrorist operation.Two, the reports that both Congress and US administration were planning to declare the Haqqani network and LeT as terrorist organisations, which could have seriously damaging results for Pakistan leading possibly to UN sanctions. The deal or the accord, whatever one may call the agreement to restart the Nato supplies via Pakistan, if viewed through the lens of the 14 points based on a parliamentary resolution, falls woefully short of the conditions specified for a qualified restarting of the Nato containers.Take the case of the apology. All that the US Secretary of State said was that she was “sorry” for the loss of lives. The statement issued by the State Department on Hillary’s conversation on July 3 with Ms Hina Rabbani Khar, in this connection, was: “The Foreign Minister and I were reminded that our troops - Pakistani and American - are in a fight against a common enemy. We are, both our countries, in this fight against the terrorists…….Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes (emphasis added) that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives.”Foreign Minister Khar later in a TV interview interpreted the “sorry” statement as a come down on the part of Washington. As said above, Pakistani authorities had made up their mind to accede to the US demand to open the supplies for reasons indicated above. They were looking for an opening. And this explains why they readily swallowed the qualified “sorry” coming from the US Secretary of State.Does the government realise that it has conceded that “mistakes were committed on both sides” as the quoted statement says, then Pakistan too was indirectly saying “sorry” for it. Was it appropriate to agree to such an accusation? In the light of this interpretation, where is the “apology”?Again the question of transport of non-lethal supplies has been resolved by saying that only such supplies as are meant for the Afghanistan security forces would be allowed. Obviously, the weapons will be American and who is going to scrutinise and find out if they will actually reach the Afghan military or used by the Nato soldiers. Already lethal weapons are being transported by air. The fact of the matter is that in this case too, the Pakistani conditions have been ignored and the American interests safeguarded.The more interesting or puzzling part of the deal is that Pakistan has dropped its justified claim to raise the charges for the plying of containers across the country. Our Ambassador in USA is happy that the accord is not linked to any such transactional clause. Can we forget US Defence Secretary Panetta’s crude reaction to the news about Pakistan asking for $5,000 per container and the words he used for such “excessive” demand? Notice may here be taken of the understanding included in the accord that the Coalition Support Funds ($1.2 billion) would be released in the near future.Much can be said for the need to repair our relations with the USA and the Nato countries. Correct that Pakistan was becoming isolated and a way had to be found to restore a reasonably good relationship with the USA.But the way the impasse has been broken leaves much to be desired. The resumption of supplies to Afghanistan without extra charges benefits the USA. Why Pakistan abdicated a legitimate claim for a just requirement is not understood. As for the “sorry” received, it is a qualified one. The supply of arms through Pakistan under the pretence of provision to Afghanistan will continue. And there is no guarantee that despite a verbal assurance, something like the Salala tragedy will not happen. The drone strikes continue. Have we agreed to let them continue on certain conditions? The related document has yet to be made public. The report is that Pakistan has agreed to drone attacks provided the intelligence is shared.Mention may here be made that Pakistan’s trouble is increasing by the day. Already militants across the border have been attacking our security forces. Little has been said by the Nato or Isaf about the marauders beheading the Pakistan soldiers and gleefully displaying their severed heads.Now a word about the way the US-Pakistan standoff has been allowed to drag on for more than seven months. This dithering and foot-dragging does little credit to our Islamabad rulers. Not only precious time was lost, little was done to contain the fallout in terms of rising tension and distrust. Because of lack of foresight, relations between Islamabad and Washington were allowed to take a nosedive. The Congress practically went on a war path. Pakistan literally was described as an enemy country by some of the Senators and resolutions moved to cut off aid to Pakistan altogether. The US media too added salt to the injury. What has been worse, during this time the US-India friendship flourished further at Pakistan’s expense and Washington forged yet another strategic agreement with Kabul. Chicago was a stinging slap in Pakistan’s face. Already internally Pakistan was jolting from one crisis to another. The economy had reached the precipice and only international doles could help it survive.Seven months were thus unthinkingly lost both internally and externally.What next? In our relations with the USA a lot remains to be sorted out. How can we stop the incursions from across the Western border? How are we to meet the escalating pressure for taking action against the Haqqani group accused by the Americans of attacking the Nato and Afghanistan vital points? These and many ancillary issues have to be addressed effectively. How about the massive protests scheduled to be launched by the Defence Council, PML-N and Imran Khan? All that I may say at this juncture is that as the Chinese put it, we are living in extremely “interesting” times.