If anything could restore normalcy in todays troubled Afghanistan, it is undoubtedly a grand national reconciliation in which all Afghanshave a stake. Prime Minister Gilani indicated, in a joint press conference with President Karzai in Kabul on Saturday, that an upgraded Pak-Afghan peace commission they had formed would be striving to achieve this goal. He made it clear that the peace process would be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, receiving the full backing of Pakistan. Accompanied by a high level delegation comprising Defence and Interior Ministers, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the COAS and the ISI Chief, Mr Gilani had a detailed discussion with Mr Karzai, who told the journalists that the upgraded commission also enjoyed US support. The present commission that operates at the level of Foreign Ministers stands upgraded and would now be headed by the two countrys Chief Executives and High Peace Council Chief and former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani and include the Army and Intelligence Chiefs of the two countries. Its second tier would now be led by the two Foreign Ministers. It is interesting to note that as the troop surge, the so-called US trump card for breaking the back of Afghan resistance, failed to yield the desired results, the Americans, after a period of reluctance, decided instead to call for the reconciliation surge (words, probably, first spoken by Secretary of State Clinton). The shift in strategy raised the hope that Afghanistan would, after all, return to peace through a negotiated deal with the Taliban. Political solution through talks has, indeed, been advocated both by Pakistan and Afghanistan for a long time, but the US administration has persisted in adopting a military approach under pressure from its hawkish top brass. With the flawed strategy not working and the public opinion at home already wearied of involvement in wars, it was compelled to change course. Pakistan has unquestionably high stakes in peace and stability in the neighbouring Afghanistan. Contiguity of borders apart, the two countries have a common ethnic group, Pashtuns, straddling these borders. A deal that takes into account the interests of all Afghans, of which Pashtuns constitute a majority, would obviously have a positive impact on the situation in Pakistan. And the neglect of Pashtuns legitimate interests would not only keep Afghanistan unstable but also cast a negative impact on us. Mr Gilani strongly dispelled the notion that terrorists were crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan and termed the drone attacks as counterproductive. While the formation of the upgraded commission could ease our concern and raise prospects of peace returning soon, a US newspaper report that the CIA has been able to establish its spy network in our tribal areas should give sleepless nights to both the citizens and those who are charged with their security. This blatant admission of US interference only proves virtually every Pakistani (except for those at the helm of affairs) right, who have all along been sceptical about the American repeated assertions of friendship with Pakistan.