It is a different matter that different sections of our civil society including different political parties, from time to time, have listed many problems and challenges facing Pakistan. The list of the elite class is different from the down trodden millions who are suffering from deprivation of all types. Bulk of the rural population has challenges to face quite different from their counterparts in the urban society. The rich are becoming richer and the poor are unfortunately becoming poorer. The middle class is gradually going through the painful process of elimination without anyone taking any notice of this social tragedy. Yet successive governments, whether civilian or military, have left no stone unturned to pay lip service and making false promises to convert the country into a democratic, Islamic and social welfare state. What an irony. The classic hypocrisy has been conducted, in the name of a solemn resolve to convert the dream of Iqbal and Jinnah into a solid reality. With the passage of time, the situation instead of showing any sign of improvement, has gone from bad to worse. This includes the rulers, state organs and the civil society. The military is accused of repeated interventions that in turn plead not guilty by shifting the responsibility to the political leadership for their failure to handle the affairs of the state. As far as terrorism is concerned, we have been repeatedly told that the recent wave of extremism which has given birth to terrorism is, in fact the product of the Afghan jihad in the 80's against the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan. This action against the occupation of Afghanistan sucked in Pakistan. The US and many other nations are believed to have funnelled billions of dollars support to the mujahiddin. After the withdrawal of the Red Army from Afghanistan and subsequent collapse of the SU, it was widely believed that the mujahiddin had brought its natural fallout in Pakistan by introducing a culture of Kalashnicoff's and other weapons, besides drugs and all other connected evils. Religious extremism was also a by-product of the Afghan jihad which later on turned into terrorism in its worst form after 9/11. A number political parties also encouraged religious extremism which in due course of time found their way beyond the border of Afghanistan into the settled districts of Pakistan. US came under increasing pressure for promoting the so-called war against terror in which Musharraf was alleged to become the agent of the US and undertaking military action by the Pakistani army against Muslim brethren presiding in Waziristan and even settled areas of Swat. Based on this line argument, these elements were against any military action against Lal Masjid in Islamabad, alleged to have become a den of religious extremists including elements of Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Thus, there was a rift amongst those elements of society advocating military action against extremism and the right wing conservatives who believed in negotiations through the tribal elders in the NWFP (jirgas), and also Lal Masjid. In any case there is a growing number of not only the right wing religious leadership but also members of the present parliament who are advocating the prescription of negotiations which leadership of extremism and terrorism on the plea that the war against terrorism is the baby of the West led by US. And that over coming extremism was not causing any threat to the state of Pakistan as such and therefore Pakistan should refrain from the continuation of this policy. There is no doubt about wide spread anti-Americanism in Pakistan. Pakistan after the February 18 polls is entering the dawn of a new democratic, stable and prosperous nation with a hopefully politically tolerant and moderate state worthy of earning the respect of the comity of nations. In case our parliament can get its priorities right and come out of the present internal and external challenges successfully in a truly democratic spirit, that would be the best defence against the currently wave of extremism and terrorism presently gripping the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. E-mail: