A part from the political and strategic impact of President Barack Obama's so-called historic impact on the Muslim world in particular and the "clash of civilisations" in general, my mind, instantly, took off in a different direction. Going back in time, I remembered Maulana Abu Kalam Azad addressing Delhi University preaching peace amongst the Indians belonging to different faiths when Hindu-Muslim riots were taking place in India. Undoubtedly the universities played a great part as non-political and independent platforms for the promotion of peace and harmony. As the universities were considered an important instrument of interaction between the government and intellectuals, Quaid-i-Azam also utilised the Aligarh University, Islamia College Peshawar and Islamia College Lahore to promote the Pakistan Movement although he strongly believed that students should shun politics and concentrate more on their studies. Besides this, the West has developed a different university culture as a result of which the students do not take active part in politics during their studies. However the faculty members who specialise in certain fields are always consulted and offer their advice at different levels of the administration. Some senior professors end up holding very high positions at the state and even federal levels. Similarly, it is a matter of routine for US presidents, British PMs and European heads of government to address the selected universities on national issues. Many former presidents consider it a matter of great honour. In case of Pakistan, unfortunately, no such culture has taken shape due to a number of reasons. No constitution or sustained leadership was ever in place. The musical chairs played between the army and the civil authority made the confusion worst confounded. There was hardly any peaceful or honourable exit of PMs or presidents. It may look odd but in Pakistan hardly a president, PM, CM or governor - with one or two exceptions - has been terminated or forced to resign. That is the main reason why, after the sudden departure of Quaid-i-Azam in 1948, the civil-military-bureaucracy comprising Ghulam Muhammad, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali Sikandar Mirza and Khan Qurban Ali in Punjab and another IGP Abdul Rasheed Khan took over NWFP. Our present woes are the direct result of the failure of our politicians to evolve a constitution and hold elections within two years of independence as India did and proved themselves worthy of running the Executive, the Parliament and the Judiciary which could provide good governance to the people under a stable political leadership. The Quaid as governor general ruled East and West Pakistan with one PM, eight ministers and eight secretaries in addition to a few essential autonomous bodies and their chairmen's. Let me boldly say that had Pakistan, between August 14, 1947 and August 14, 1950 evolved a constitution, held elections at the central and the provincial levels, done away with the feudal system through bold land reforms, amalgamated the federally administered territories like FATA and evolved and pursued an independent foreign policy we would have been saved from the sorry state of affairs in which Pakistan is facing today. I had started this column with President Obama's historic address to reach out to the Muslim world with a message of peace and promotion of a strategy of change from the past to usher in a better future. He chose the historic Cairo University to launch the New Global Order. I, for one, warmly welcome the president's bold initiative. As I watched Obama's address, I noted a ring of sincerity in his words and body language. Let us all give a helping hand in his peace offensive and wait for the results. In the meantime here is a chance for the vice chancellors of the many distinguished universities in Pakistan to offer their platform to the president, PM and other high ranking officials in order to share the challenges faced by the government and seek their advice. I urge the oldest and largest seat of higher learning in Pakistan, University of the Punjab, to take a lead in this adventure by requesting the president to give his vision of Pakistan to the new generation while others leaders can follow. Joined by other universities, the net result of this exercise shall certainly produce new ideas. At worst no harm is likely to be caused to anyone. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum