Even after more than two months, the publics anger against USAs 'cowardly ambush in Abbottabad has not receded. However, it has changed in form. From an outrage against the armed forces, it has transformed into a national resolve: An anti-America attitude. The focus of anger has largely shifted from the armed forces to other reasons leading to the Abbottabad attack. A recent survey indicated that 79 percent of Pakistanis did not consider it as a military failure alone. It was also a pleasant surprise for the people that for a decade their armed forces have been foregoing about 70 percent of the US military aid to support the civil sector. After Iran, the US has lost another ally Pakistan - especially its peoples support - and that too for hard times to come. In the long run, the armed forces will have no option, except to scale back their dependence on US aid. Once again, the time-tested strategy of self-reliance and indigenisation of 'sanctions days need to be reinvoked. In the past, the armed forces of Pakistan held the Soviets at bay during their protracted occupation of Afghanistan. The political leadership of that time was clear about the status of the war and 'whos who. When Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo ordered to shoot down the Soviet aircraft, even if it had to be chased into Afghanistan and shot down in its airspace, Pakistans Air Force (PAF) displayed brilliant skills and shot down a number of intruders without any combat loss. The nation expects similar resolve and direction from the present political leadership. Also, it is important to mention that, today, the PAF is equipped in a much better way; it has acquired additional capabilities and competencies. The only reason why it could not react to the US aircrafts in Abbottabad was because 'whos who about the so-called war on terror was ambiguous at the national as well as at military leadership level. It was never envisaged that while those with whom Pakistans military is fighting shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy will ditch it. Anyway, Operation Geronimo has a unique distinction of being a military action by a superpower against its own ally. It was indeed a stabbing in the back; a misadventure against an ally, who had suffered the most in supporting Americas war on terror. Had Washington asked for Al-Qaeda Chief Osama bin Ladens extradition, in all probability Islamabad would have obliged. Apparently, the Americans never wanted to capture him alive; they could not have absorbed his revelations during a fair and independent trial. Only a dead Osama suited them. Meanwhile, the method adopted by America to kill Osama had the advantage that Pakistan could be blamed for its failures in Afghanistan and create a sense of insecurity among the people of Pakistan, and trust deficit between them and the Pak Army. Nevertheless, the ongoing criticism on Pakistan for its 'failure to do the US bidding or for providing safe havens to the militants is a part of well thought-out strategy against it. At the same time, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has promptly picked up the threads from where he had left it as Director CIA. During his recent visit to Kabul, he urged Pakistan to go after Ayman Al-Zawahiri. But Pakistan needs to call the bluff and ask Washington to pinpoint Al-Zawahiris exact location and offer to conduct a joint operation. The US media too has stepped up its campaign of vilification against Pakistan, by finding holes in the military and ISIs performance and reincarnating stories about some former Generals receiving kickbacks for supplying nuclear secrets to North Korea. In addition, Admiral Mike Mullen sternly stated: The Pakistani government had sanctioned the killing of a Pakistani journalist. The American Ambassador too in Islamabad violated the diplomatic norms and made an uncalled for statement during the recent Karachi disturbances. After announcing the decision to hold back a portion of the aid, the US said Pakistan was an important ally, but there were difficulties to overcome in this relationship. White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley told ABC: Pakistan had taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland added, When it comes to our military assistance, were not prepared to continue providing that at the pace that we were providing it, unless and until we see certain steps taken. Pentagon too stated that Pakistans aid would be resumed if the expelled 'trainers are again permitted to resume their functions. The US trainers stationed in Pakistan were monitored and found involved in illegal operations that aimed at acquainting themselves with the Pakistani terrain in FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Hence, they were expelled. Thus, reacting to Washingtons decision to withhold a portion of the aid, Pakistans military spokesperson General Ather Abbas said: The US decision will have no significant effect on Pakistans counterterrorism efforts.....The Pakistan army will continue its operations in the tribal areas, as it was doing in the past. On an average, Pakistan gets $600 million a year under the Coalition Support Fund (CFS). During the recent years, the flow of CSF was often interrupted on one flimsy pretext or the other. During the last 10 years, against an expected figure of over $13 billion, Pakistan got $8.6 billion as military aid. Out of this amount, only $2.6 billion went to the military, while the rest was used by the government for civil sector budgetary support For quite some time, US Joint Special Operation Command in unison with Blackwater has been conducting assassinations of high value targets in Pakistan. This clandestine guerrilla war inside Pakistan was further hyped by General David Petraeus, while he was commanding the US troops in Afghanistan in collaboration with former CIA Chief Panetta. It is not without reason that the duo has been retained in Obamas new war team. Time has come for our leadership to take a holistic review of Pakistans multidimensional relations with the US. There is a need to clearly articulate the steps that it will undertake in case of a repeat of the Geronimo-like cowardly act by the American forces. Pakistans military leadership needs to come out of an aura of complacency and upgrade the readiness posture to minimise the chances of success of such operations in future. However, the public needs to be informed that even with full military readiness, there are some chances of success of such covert missions by the US. The Inquiry Commission investigating the Abbottabad incident is expected to conduct an in-depth probe digging into the reasons that led to this strategic fiasco. It would be worthwhile to refer to the recommendations of Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission, and extent of their implementation. The commission must also evaluate the correctness of our national policy after 9/11, which led to incremental proliferation of American influence in some important institutions, including the media. Also, there is a need to re-evaluate the military doctrine and the efficacy of our defence organisation by comparing it with contemporary models. The commission would do a worthwhile service to the nation, if it comes out with convincing findings to fix the responsibility and makes concrete recommendations to avoid recurrences. n The writer is a retired Air Commodore and former Assistant Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force. At present, he is a member of the visiting faculty at the PAF Air War College, Naval War College and Quaid-i-Azam University. Email:khalid3408@gmail.com