So much has been written and spoken by politicians of all shades and media persons of all hues that my beating about on the same issues would only make the prevailing confusion worse confounded. I'm deeply distressed about the London parleys not ending on a happy note because both sides rigidly stuck to their stated positions and therefore remained short of the statesmanship required with an eye on the blossoming of the democratic process born out of the February 18 elections. The democratic process needs time to blaze the path leading to Pakistan's ultimate destiny. This demands focusing on major internal and external challenges backed by the entire nation. I do not have to list these challenges which cannot all be resolved with a magic wand by any leader regardless of the heavy mandate given to him by the ballot. In the present case the ballot box has been very unkind by way of the split mandate granted to the PPP and the PML(N). Hence, the present coalition finding itself in an uncomfortable position in the early stage of its formation. I'm a strong supporter of the present coalition government because of the grave political and economic challenge facing Pakistan, most notably the judicial crisis. No stone should be left unturned to find solution acceptable to all stakeholders. However, the process of good governance in all sectors must proceed post haste on war footing. Pakistan's economic stability and many other challenges like water management, energy crisis, food shortage, alleviation of poverty and population explosion all listed as core issues by many experts. Because of my personal involvement in an education movement for over a decade, I regard education as Pakistan's core issue. It goes to the credit of the Federal Education Minister to initiate a process of formulating a new education policy 2008, in consultation with all stakeholders. The National Education Policy 2008 (the "Policy") comes in a series of education policies dating back to the very inception of the country in 1947. Two main reasons prompted the Ministry of Education to launch the review in 2005 well before the time horizon of the existing policy framework (1998 -2010) had approached. Firstly, the policy framework has not served as a satisfactory guide, as the policies pursued under that framework had not produced the desired educational results. Performance of the education sector has been deficient in several key aspects, most notably in access rates, and in quality and equality of educational opportunities. Secondly, new international challenges like Millennium Development and Dakar Education for All (EFA) goals, have gained greater momentum in the intervening years and demanded fresh consideration. Besides, some compelling domestic pressures such as devolution of powers, economic development and demographic transformations have necessitated a renewed commitment to proliferation of quality education for all. It was keenly felt by all levels of government that deficiencies of the education sector posed long-term risks to Pakistan's quest for modernization. Besides, the problems afflicting Pakistan's education called for a fundamental re-orientation of the system. Even though some fundamental reforms may be implemented gradually over time, their direction need to be charted out early, forming the basis for more detailed plans of action. The objective of this policy is to achieve following vision of the state of education: "Education is a categorical imperative for individual, social and national development that should enable all individuals to reach their maximum human potential. The system should produce responsible, enlightened citizens to integrate Pakistan in the global framework of human centred development." Chapter 1 lays out the current state of Pakistan's education sector. Available indicators are assessed against data in comparable countries. Chapter 2 identifies two fundamental causes that lie behind the deficiencies in performance, and outlines the way forward that consists of system-wide and sub-sector level reforms. Chapters 3 and 4 chart out ways of improving performance at the sector- wide or system level, while Chapters 5 and 6 outline reforms and policy actions to be taken at the sub-sector level. This would require a national debate on taking stock of the current situation, access to education opportunities, equity in education, the gender dimensions, the rural-urban divide, provincial and area disparities and above all, the induction of the ideology, of Pakistan in the mindset of the new generation. Such a debate would help determine the degree of statesmanship possessed by Pakistan's present leadership. E-mail: ikramullah@nation.com.pk