Following terrorist attacks in Mumbai the relations between the two neighbouring countries became strained quite out of proportion with New Delhi constantly accusing Islamabad just for the sake of drawing maximum advantage out of the prevailing situation. In these troubled circumstances, with India not listening to any reason and playing its own tunes in order to isolate Pakistan in the comity of nations, the conferment of an award by an international institution to the journalist turned politician and an important member of the present Cabinet is indeed a positive sign of relief. The award conferred by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on the worthy Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry Rehman may not sound a big achievement or honour as such but this certainly has come as a solace at least in the prevailing circumstances. The award of being declared as Democracy's Hero is indeed an appreciation as well as acknowledgement of Ms Rehman's commitment to the cause of democracy and also a tribute to Benazir who had struggled and laid down her life for the cause of democracy and the right of the people. As a matter of fact, the award would have carried much more weight had democracy been allowed to settle firmly in the saddle and democratic institutions gained more strength as was envisioned by BB with whom Ms Rehman had worked closely braving arrests and confinement by security agencies during Zia and Musharraf rule. Indeed, this has come as some solace for Ms Rehman and also for the people of Pakistan in the prevailing tension filled circumstances which Islamabad is striving hard to defuse and maintain durable peace in the region. This will also go a long way in projecting a soft and moderate image of Pakistan and its people before the comity of nations which is all the more needed. Meanwhile efforts are underway to eliminate extremism that is bringing a bad name to the religion of Islam and the country as well. The writer is a freelance columnist