The unfolding events in the Arab world have surprised those within this pivotal region and outside. It was originally held that Tunisia was a sideshow unrepeatable in Egypt or elsewhere. The dramatic scenes and developments on the Egyptian streets have, however, all, but proven this assessment incorrect. The escalating American calls for restraint, dialogue and change demonstrated that they were distancing themselves from President Hosni Mubarak. Actually, the USAs objective was to safeguard its long-term interests in Egypt, the cornerstone of its Israeli-centric Middle East policy, and therefore he was given time in the hope that he would be able to contain or control the situation. But America was positioning itself for change. An orderly transition, not chaos, was certainly in everyones interest. So far, the West had been reassuring itself that as in Tunisia, the demands for regime change in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world were not due to the Islamist nationalistic movements that caused it the most concern. Most probably, while the leaders will change, well-entrenched power elites will retain their dominant hold, as indeed was their effort in Egypt, but will be compelled to share power with the Islamist and other opposition parties. But as popular perceptions rightly or wrongly attribute long suppressed discontent with Americas backing for autocratic regimes, whatever emerged in Egypt, despite the continuing need for political, economic and military assistance from abroad, there were certain consequences in areas which are not now being looked at. One such consequence could be the reactivation of Egypts desire since 1973 for peaceful nuclear power generation to service the developmental needs of its swelling 80 million population, which may be accentuated by possible declining flows from the Nile given the assertive demands of the upper riparians and the establishment of an independent South Sudan. Egypt is already apprehensive of a nuclear-capable Iran, and may decide to follow the same model of reaching a nuclear capability within the NPT approved envelope. The proposed regional conference on the Middle East Nuclear Free Zone, which objective has been the hallmark of Egyptian non-proliferation policy, is not likely to change the Israeli position and will heighten this inclination. Already in Davos, the Saudis have stated that they will not forgo their right to enrichment technology. At one time, the GCC countries decried Irans nuclear power plant in Bushehr, as a potential environmental threat across the narrow Gulf. Now, they are all lining up for nuclear power plants for their energy security, and as a hedge to Irans advancing nuclear capability. Iran and Syria are watching the discomfiture of the American allies in the region, but cautious of the implications of the civic society momentum generated. In Pakistan, perhaps the only country where talk shows dominate prime time TV, and where internal and external critics continually exaggerate what can go wrong, these crises elsewhere bring out the reality that Pakistan is a resilient country in much better shape than given credit for. Despite the challenges faced from internal and externally backed terrorism and manifest weaknesses of governance and accountability, Pakistan has a working democratic dispensation in which political participation from all sections of the spectrum, a large and active media and an emerging strong judiciary constitute a dynamic polity which the Arab countries may now attain. The lesson of what is happening elsewhere should, however, not be lost on the Pakistani leadership and elite. Paradoxically, while the West pressures Pakistan to do more to counter terrorist and extremist tendencies, and movements accentuated by the American-led military-centric counterterrorism responses in nearby Iraq and next door Afghanistan, it presses Pakistan to follow market policy principles with deep cuts in developmental and social spending causing increasing discontent and impacting on stability. Economic policies must be modified to narrow the gap between the poor and those accumulating wealth at their expense. India, with its strong links to Israel, is apprehensive of any weakening of the secular status of Egypt, its ally from non-aligned days, and the probable emergence of stronger currents of sympathy for Muslim causes which could result throughout the Arab world. India is already struggling to contain the resurgence of indigenous political activism and protest in occupied Kashmir. And this at a time when it has increasingly allied itself to an America whose own influence is under threat in regions adjacent to India. The direction of the change in this region cannot be mapped out with any certainty right now. All that can be said is that there will be change and the ability of the western powers to chart the future of this important area according to their values, objectives and strategic/energy requirements is no longer, as secure as they had earlier assessed and established. It will be for the Arab countries to make the best use of the space they may gain to reach more equitable internal and external accommodations, remembering the proverb: The voice of the people is the voice of Allah. The writer is a retired ambassador and a distinguished visiting fellow on the Faculty of the NDU, who has studied in Iraq and Egypt.