Pakistan faces a clear and present threat from extremism. The challenges that lie ahead cannot be understood unless a fundamental change is brought in our strategic thinking. The three challenges for us at the national level are to do nation building, forge a national identity and build a consensus on it. The three challenges at regional level include relations with India, regional policy towards rest of the region and understanding the region's outlook towards Pakistan. The three challenges at international level include terrorism, nuclear proliferation and stability of the state, which is at present facing a threat of failure. All of these challenges, be they national, regional or international will depend on three determinants; the role of Islam in our decision making, the role of the armed forces and the role of United States of America. Hence the 3 A's, Allah, Army and America are destined to dominate Pakistan's future. -ZAINAB KULSOOM, Rawalpindi, via e-mail, May 22.