For President Asif Zardari to assure the visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday that Pakistan stood by its commitment to do all it can to make the Afghan-driven peace process a success was the right way to tackle militancy presently plaguing Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region. Already, the policy of waging a war has tellingly brought home to the Americans the point that military force cannot tame the people determined to preserve their independence and dignity and that they have, in essence, lost the game after using every stratagem designed to subdue the rival for no less a period than a decade. The tens of thousands of deaths of Afghans the US has caused have failed to temper their drive to continue to resist the foreign occupation till it is fully vacated. In sheer desperation, it has even been trying the vicious tactics of deliberately killing innocent civilians, women and children, to instil awe and fear of their might in the local population, but to no avail. Peaceful negotiations remain the only road to peace and progress. And to take the US along on this journey is a recipe for disaster. In fact, it was the introduction of the US-led NATO factor in the area that gave rise to the menace of terrorism. Prior to that, there were neither suicide bombings nor drone attacks nor so much extremist feelings in evidence. Associating the US in bringing peace to this troubled region would prove counterproductive; it had better pack up and go. On the other hand, there are a host of compulsions for both Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together if peace and harmony are the goal. The long contiguous border, the common ethnic factor of their populations, the religious, historical and cultural links, to cite some. It is these age-old links that prompted President Karzai and Prime Minister Gilani, who met on Saturday, to sign a 23-point Islamabad Declaration that should serve as the basis for cooperation for a strong and fruitful friendship between the two. One hopes that the declaration does not remain an expression of pious wishes and is implemented in letter and in spirit. Somehow, Mr Karzai has the failing to blame Pakistan for the Afghan woes when at home. But, if a large contingent of so-called Taliban from Afghanistan attack a Pakistan checkpost, as they did for the second time in a matter of weeks, it is not Pakistan sending out terrorists out of safe havens from its side of the border. There must be something wrong with the oversight of the border by NATO and Afghan forces. Indeed, qualitative improvement can come if the declaration is taken up seriously like promoting cooperation in trade and commerce, energy, connectivity, infrastructure development and people-to-people contacts. The signing and ratification of the new Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement is a good omen. Other measures developing overland routes to Central Asian neighbours and road and rail links between Pakistan and Afghanistan, TAPI gas pipeline and CASA-1000 power transmission line, scholarships to Afghan students and the establishment of basic health units in Afghanistan if genuinely pursued would make for peace and development in the two countries. Right now, both must focus on cooperation in ensuring the success of talks with their own disaffected people.