AS putting an effective end to militancy in the tribal region and across, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, depends upon several factors involving a coordinated strategy between different players, any agreement these two countries make to strengthen their cooperation would be welcome news. The message that comes out of the meetings, which took place between Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Spanta and President Asif Zardari and later with his counterpart Mahmood Qureshi at Islamabad on Friday, holds such a prospect. Although the changed political scenario in Pakistan raises some hope that the two sides would follow through their understanding with concrete action, there are certain crucial issues about which the public needs to be put in the picture. The much-touted 'effective process' of Pak-Afghan jirga would be held 'frequently', if the decision at the Friday meetings is any guide. But one would like to know the impact on the War On Terror of this jirga that was convened some time back. Meanwhile, the news from Washington is rather depressing in so far as the economic and social progress of the local population is concerned and which is regarded as a vital input in eliminating the menace. The Biden-Lugar Bill, stipulating the allocation of $15 billion over a period of 10 years for the socio-economic uplift of Pakistan, with a focus on the tribal region, is 'dead' for want of debate by the outgoing Congress. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had endorsed it unanimously, but for certain reasons it was not put on its agenda. However, since economic progress i.e. the establishment of schools and clinics, the construction of roads and bridges, etc., would open up new avenues of employment, dissuading recourse to militancy, the strategy occupies a pivotal position in the thinking of President Obama. One would, therefore, tend to accept Ambassador Hussain Haqqani's assurance that the bill would soon be presented by new movers. Hopefully, it would take effect from 2009 and the next year, as certain critical circles are pointing out.