There is no denying the fact that Pakistan currently presents a dismal look. The internal and external challenges have compounded our problems. Misfortunes never come alone. Shakespeare said a long time ago, as if describing the current scenario in Pakistan: "One woe doth tread upon another's heel, so soon, they follow" since 9/11, the fallout of the international war against terror was bad enough. The onslaught of suicide bombers and extremists in the garb of ambassadors of the "divine mission of Islam" spread their tentacles not only in FATA but also in NWFP. The Taliban virtually took-over the Malakand Division including Swat, Dir, and other adjoining areas. The leader of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Baitullah Mehsud virtually posed a challenge to the writ of the federal government in North and South Waziristan. The situation in Balochistan, Sindh and even Punjab could not be described as peaceful. Law and order situation in Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi and many cities of the Punjab were in a state of Red Alert during the Independence Day celebrations. Take Gojra as an example. This event showed to the world at large that Pakistan has been held hostage by the extremists let loose by certain forces to destabilise the country. The drying up of our rivers, energy shortage, soaring prices of essential commodities with no visible efforts to change the situation for the better, helped many to project that Pakistan is likely to collapse soon under the weight of its own mismanagement. The above is the dark side of the picture, but there is always a silver lining even to the darkest cloud. Let me describe the situation of my own province, representing more than half of Pakistan population. During the week long celebrations of Independence I had the opportunity to visit a number of districts where I found hope and not despair in the eyes of the students, their teachers and parents because of a series of promotional and patronising efforts of CM Shahbaz Sharif. I don't have to describe how the CM has suddenly turned a new page for the advancement of the children in the far flung areas of Punjab by awarding million of rupees to position holders and opening the portals of the best universities at home and abroad for their education at government expense. On August 14 these position holders were given the honour of hoisting the flag of Pakistan on entering the 63 year of our Independence. I have never seen or heard of a student of any country receiving such an honour. Have you? As regards providing relief to the common man, the provincial administration has set another record in an unprecedented crackdown on sugar stockholders. Thousand of tons of sugar have been seized by the government in this unprecedented operation. If this tempo is maintained, there is certainly hope for tomorrow. In the end I have good news for my readers that not only FATA but the settled district including Malakand Division, Swat etc are free from the fear of TTP and thousand of displaced families are back in their homes. The backbone of the TTP has been broken, while they are on the retreat peace shall soon return to FATA and the other areas recently in turmoil. All that is needed is a firm resolve to strictly adhere to the Founder Father's directive of "Unity, Faith, and Discipline" so that his dream of a modern, democratic, and welfare state is established in the land. A gleam of fulfilment of this dream is visible in the indicators of good governance appearing like stars on the horizon of a dark night. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum Email:ikramullah@nation.com.pk