Post cold war era has opened the possibility of making disagreement work for the good of society rather than against it. This is so even when there are acute divisions and some fierce conflict raging in various parts of the world and even within an otherwise apparently cohesive society. In the last century struggle for rights of individual against state led to adoption of the Human Rights Charter, 1948 which includes dignity of man (and woman), some vital freedoms, concept of equality and due process of law. Human Rights became idioms of later half of the last century. States after states adopted some of these rights and enshrined them in their constitution as fundamental rights. However, implementation of human rights globally and within a state is far from being satisfactory. Nations have faltered when their national interest demanded otherwise, and within state it suffered under autocratic rulers or due to economic and social disparity. Yet, the march to a better future where human rights may one day be respected is going on with many unfortunate disappointments along the way. There is yet another notable and far reaching change of last century, namely that of the ascension of democracy over other forms of government which has led scholars like Francis Fukuma to announce the end of history, and yet another politician to proclaim a New World Order. The last century which saw two world wars (1914 and 1939); revolutions (1917 and 1949); collapse of USSR and the end of cold war has bequeathed us an unfinished political agenda of how to organise the contemporary world so as to avoid the mistakes of the past and to ensure progress of humanity as a whole. All this and more has generated an optimism which is referred to by some writers as millennium optimism. However, in the wake of this optimism two divergent theories - one of globalisation and the other clash of civilisation - have emerged. Globalisation is conventionally projected as producing uniformity, leading to political liberation, market economy and advancement of science particularly in the fields of life sciences and information technology. Globalisation thus indicates that the world in which we live today is and would be a highly interdependent world. On the other hand, clash of civilisation is premised on the belief that nation states would no longer be key units in shaping the future world which is going to be influenced by diverse civilisations and the fault line existing between them can lead to clashes. This theory indicates that even though the world is interdependent yet it may remain deeply divided. Both these assumptions contain a part of truth because we do see the emergence of a global village on the one side and yet there is a rush to find out and adhere to some distinct identity. We all are familiar with the phrases like "uniformity in diversity" and "of letting hundred flowers blossom" but now is the time to provide institutional back up to ensure that multi-culturalism and pluralism survive in a world which is moving inexorably towards globalisation and uniformity. Someone had said that tolerance is law of nature stamped on the heart of all men but it is the least practised virtue. The reason is that it requires deep knowledge, understanding and courage. For example, it is easy for each man to claim his freedom as a matter of right, but freedom he accords to other men comes out of deep understanding and is a matter of toleration. Similarly, the test of courage comes when we are in minority but the test of tolerance comes when we are in majority. Nature may have stamped tolerance upon our hearts but we have to cultivate it. Both in the context of Pakistan and the world there is urgent need to move in this direction. In Pakistan the ethics of disagreement would mean that all political parties and leaders, inside and outside Pakistan, have to respect the peoples' will reflected through the elections for the period envisaged in the constitution and not to pull down the government by resorting to street power or by partisan politics. The parties and leaders have different agendas and manifestos, variant vote banks and diverse aims, but they must work towards a practical political activity in which tolerance will dominate and both minority and majority will know how to disagree. This is indeed the spirit of the accord signed between the two main political parties of PPP and PML-N. Another "ethics of disagreement" is particularly relevant for the purposes of unity amongst the Ummah and, that is that the practice of calling the adherence of other Fiqa i.e. jurisprudence as Kaffir must be abandoned and any speech or statement that could be offending to other sects must be avoided. The code of conduct governing the Fiqa should be that Imams of all schools of thought receive due respect. More importantly the gates of Ijtihad (freedom of thought, rational thinking, quest of knowledge, educational pursuit, dialogue, discussions, discourse) must be reopened and an attempt has to be made to compile what is common between all the Fiqas. I am sure that if progress is made on the above lines this is the method of preventing many from the younger generation falling into the traps laid down by the anti-state organisations for recruitment to commit acts of terrorism. The laying down of the code of ethics of disagreement would surely be the right step also in defusing the tensions in our northern parts between the Shia and Sunni, and would be a prudent move right step in combating terrorism which is growing all over Pakistan. If the twin codes of conduct are respected, we shall have built yet another bridge to find out proper space between politics, religion and democracy so that all groups are assured the right to advance their values and their interests. The simple formula is that within a democratic framework each group, religious or political, must be permitted to take part in equal manner in the society, which implies that no group in civil society, including religious groups, be prohibited from forming a political party. Constraint on political parties may only be imposed after a party by its action violates democratic principles. The question whether or not a political party has violated democratic principles, should be decided by the courts of law and not by the party in power. At the world level also it has to be stressed to the West that Islam is all about tolerance. Indeed it would be relevant to quote from the Holy Quran itself which says: "For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you, He hath made you as you are. So vie with one another in good words." It may be illuminating to hear what Iranian President Muhammad Khatami had to say on 22nd Anniversary of Islamic Revolution. He said: "Religion and freedom should not oppose each other. Freedom should not be held back in the name of religion and religion in the name of freedom." I may be permitted to quote from two great jurists i.e. Imam Abu Hanif and Imam Shafi. Both are the founders of their own schools of jurisprudence. Imam Abu Hanifa said the following about his work (opinion): "We know that this is an opinion and it is the best we were able to produce. Whoever comes with a better opinion, we will accept it." Imam Shafi said the following about his opinions: "I know that my opinion is right. However, there is a possibility that it may be wrong. I know that the opinion of the one who differs from me is wrong. However, there is a possibility that he may be right." Finally, the founder of Pakistan, Jinnah, had laid down the foundation of new state on August 11, 1947 in terms that on the creation of Pakistan "Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in political sense as citizens of are free to go to your mosques or to any place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the state." This is the "ethics of disagreement" which can make disagreement work for the good of each state and for the good of mankind. At the same time the West too needs to understand this spirit of tolerance. Continuingly invading the territories of Pakistan and disdainfully ignoring the resolutions by its sovereign Parliament and acts like condoning the shooting of an unarmed Dr Aafia Siddiqui and then holding her captive in their own country, are not the ethics which the West should be following. Since one can only clap with two hands, actions from both sides need to be not that of an aggressor but instead we need to take head of the words of Ellie Harold that "Light of understanding dissolves the phantom of fear." The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan E-mail: