No country can progress without peace in the neighborhood, an unquestionably proven experience all around the world. Pakistan is no exception. We need to have most cordial relations with all four of our contiguous neighbours. The formidable problems of poverty, inflation, terrorism, underdevelopment and eco-political stability cannot be addressed unless Islamabad has tension-free ties with China, India, Iran and Afghanistan. During my quarter of a century long association with the Foreign Office, my alternative ideas on foreign policy were invariably dumped into the waste bin besides inviting wrath of my superiors. After my superannuation into freedom, I can, at least, share my proposed strategies to forge good neighborliness with the men incharge of the diplomatic corps. I think the outdated contours of our present foreign policy need to be revisited at the earliest. Egos must not be allowed to stand in our way to create environment for peace and prosperity for over one fifth of humanity. It may be very difficult to step out of box but the solutions lie outside the stereotypes. As they say, we can choose friends and foes but the choice of neighbors is circumscribed by geography. A more critical look at our foreign relations that are marred by a suicidal status quo is a must now. -B.A. MALIK, Islamabad, via e-mail, July 10.