THE government’s decision to boycott the Bonn conference next week needs to be carefully parsed. Statements attributed to officials about the boycott did not appear to categorically rule out a last-minute reversal in the Pakistani opinion. It is possible, given the behind-the-scenes lobbying that the announcement will trigger, that Islamabad may agree to participate in Bonn on the advice and suggestion of ‘friends’ in the international community. If that were to happen, it would be in Pakistan’s best interest. Since the attack in Mohmand Agency which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the state has made its intense displeasure over the incident known. The closure of Isaf/Nato supply routes through the country, the demand that Americans evacuate the Shamsi airbase within 15 days and the rejection of initial half-apologies, half-explanations from Isaf and US officials all suggest a serious response to a very serious incident. Now by deciding to boycott Bonn, the depth of unhappiness in Pakistani circles has further been communicated and will likely trigger some kind of response from key Bonn participants to placate Islamabad.