It goes without saying that Pakistan is currently passing through the worst ever critical period in its sixty years checkered history. Nothing seems to be going right. The domestic scenario - looked at from any angle - does not reflect a picture to be proud of. Democracy has been restored. We have an elected Parliament. The armed forces are fully supportive of the government. We have a population of over 164 million people which is a very strong human resource. We have no shortage of natural resources and above all Pakistan is a nuclear power. Geographically, we happen to be located at a very strategic point of advantage on the globe. Inspite of all these plus points we are in deep trouble - politically, economically etc. It is a long list of going down the hill. Extremism, terrorism, sectarianism, when joined by food shortage and power breakdown have turned the domestic scenario into a nightmare for the common man. The situation, ugly as it is, demands an immediate remedy. As if this was not bad enough to give sleepless nights to the government as well as the people, the external dangers have an equally long list. India, as usual, is hanging the Damocles' Sword over our heads. The Pak-Afghan border is critical because of reasons which are well known. There is insurgency in the adjoining tribal areas in Waziristan. The US/NATO forces have failed to control the situation in Afghanistan. They demand more assistant from Pakistan, which has deployed nearly one hundred thousand military and para military forces in the area and yet are under the pressure to "do more." US helicopters and drones are violating Pakistan's sovereignty daily. This is irking the Pak-US relations, needing urgent understanding and settlement the US presidential election are at hand. Washington, naturally desires some positive results to show to the electorate. In the face of failure of US policy in Iraq and Iran, Washington is in urgent need of success in Afghanistan through increased involvement by Pakistan. However, Pakistan desires to steer clear of US strategic goals in the region particularly our neighbours - Iran and Iraq. Similarly, US strategic approach towards China cannot be followed by Pakistan. Faced with the above scenario the following five-point strategy is suggested to be adopted which can serve in Pakistan's best interests without, in any way creating any misunderstanding in the maintenance of our traditional good relations with Washington. Before offering a prescription it is essential to diagnose the malady and obtain a national consensus for treatment. It is therefore of paramount importance to define in the Parliament, the exact nature of the internal and external challenges facing Pakistan. This has not so far been done. It should be urgently taken in hand. The second part of this grand five pronged strategy should be the financial crisis handling. The cardinal principals of this strategy should be self-reliance and indigenous resources put to optimum use instead of the disgrace of the begging bowl for borrowed assistance. If everyone pays the income tax due and if the top one thousands richest men and women in Pakistan transfer their wealth from abroad to the banks in Pakistan, the country can be out of the present financial crisis within weeks. Side by side with pulling the country out of the current financial crisis, no time should be lost towards providing to the people a feeling of credibility in the political stability of the state of Pakistan. For this it is an urgent need of the hour to move towards a two party system by unifying all sections of the Muslim League in to one political party. With the PPP in power at the centre, it is important to have a opposition party in the National Assembly and the Senate to play its role, till the next elections as the party in waiting with a shadow Cabinet to take over when the time comes. And the people have a right to know the leader of the opposition who shall be the next PM. The above strategies, working in harmony can easily workout a new and revised foreign policy to handle all the external challenges with a national consensus. The final part of this five pronged proposed strategy is to understand and define various 'blocks' of the national power so that each 'block' can then have its own 'bench marks' in a given time frame. All modern states and 'think tanks' in major countries then constantly watch the graph of the national power and strive for its optimum utilisation for obtaining national goals of a country. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum E-mail: ikramullah@nation.com.pk