It appears that after over a decade of writing on the Afghan conflict, I have run out of ideas. During the course of my active involvement and as an analyst, much that was predicted has come to pass; and much that could have been accomplished in high politics has been denied or deliberately squandered. Lamentably, a nation with abundance in talent, resources and mismanagement still waits for a Godot to steer the vessel home. During the past 10 years, the clock has turned full circle and the country is back to square one. Eight years to say the least are a decade of failing statecraft. Pakistan is still being asked the same questions that it was, as a prelude to the unstinted support. The fissures between Pakistan and its overbearing ally - the US - are widening, as the situation gets from bad to worse. While the political establishment continues to make discredited statements over issues it has no control on, the military at least in public, for the first time appears to have locked horns through the ISI-CIA tangle. The military oft-acclaimed as the custodian of the frontiers is left badly exposed by the Panetta, State Department and Mullen tirades over its overall management of the conflict. The statement of GOC 7 Division in favour of the accuracy of drone attacks is fodder for the critics, who maintain that these attacks manifest a behind-the-door agreement that has the military as one of the major actors. The country lacks political credibility for governance and has willingly plummeted into an economic quagmire. Despite major national crises, the squabbling politicians have displayed no purpose, sensitivity and ability to address the issues over which they enjoy full control. Playing second fiddle to the inflexible foreign policy, they are content to keep the masses misinformed through unimaginative and purposeless soap operas. Lacking self-belief and solid commitments, they are unwilling to cut themselves off from that umbilical chord that sustains them through the NRO, while plummeting the country into darkness each day. Away from the high dramas of Islamabad, the resilience of Pakistanis is visible. Field commanders, young officers and soldiers continue to wade through the explosive minefields of FATA at an unprecedented heavy cost - a sacrifice gone unnoticed by the international community and the Pakistani leaders. Despite indiscriminate drone attacks, the suffering people of FATA continue to swear allegiance to Pakistan. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insafs dharna in Peshawar was an indicator of this resolve attended by people of all shades that included tribesmen, Baloch, retired government servants, common men of all descriptions, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. Amidst the trauma of an earthquake and unprecedented floods, the proud Pakistanis continue to pick up shreds and piece life together. This year Pakistan expects a bumper crop; thanks to the seed distribution programmes and on farm advisories initiated by Imran Khan, his workers and some NGOs in the flood-affected areas. The barter system is once again replacing the cash economy, as a hedge against the rising double-digit inflation. The unregistered and unregulated sector of Pakistans economy is coming to life to ensure that the country survives the artificial poverty crisis. The message is loud and clear: common men will tailor life to survive. Undeterred by the stigmas of bad governance and corruption, life will go on. The societal diversity considered as fault lines by the sceptics are proving a strength. Pakistan will refuse to fail. All that the government and the establishment need to do is to back its people through friendly policies.Eight years into its failures, the US policy in the region has begun to talk about peace and withdrawal. Unfortunately, in Naseerullah Babar and Imam, Pakistan has lost two very credible individuals, who exercised clout with the Afghans. While Babar died a natural death, Imams murder was treacherous and leaves many questions unanswered. A few days before his capture, he had confided in me his ability to broker a sustainable peace with Mullah Omar. However, he was suspicious that like the 1996 Accord of Benazir Bhutto, in which he and his mentor Babar were major negotiators, the USA may not support it. If at all, he was killed in cold blood immediately after the Raymond Davis fiasco?In memory and as a tribute to these two visionaries, Pakistan must relentlessly pursue the same blueprint in the best interest of the people of both Pakistan and Afghanistan; a broad based, diverse government in Afghanistan within a federation guaranteed by all affected international actors. According to my study and analysis of the conflict, the peace would start becoming a reality within 100 days.Pakistans political and establishment negotiators also need to understand that the Afghan Taliban need to be used as an asset for a universal durable stability in the region. They are also required to dispel the misperception that Pakistan considers them a strategic asset against India and a tool to blackmail the world. The strategic advantages of such a policy far outweigh the misnomer of strategic depth in that the objective of all conflicts in dignified peace. So, is this two-pronged policy of building with people and pursuing credible peace possible? At the home front, the government has to initiate a fast track socio-economic programme aimed at stabilisation to jump start the economy and productive GDP (not consumer based, but based on ability to produce and consume, and a precursor and agitator to exports i.e. GNP). To make the policy sustainable, all issues of the Baloch people will have to be addressed with an out-of-the-box strategy for herein rests the promise of a developed Pakistan. In my studies, Pakistan will experience a socio-economic turnaround within a year and keep growing. On the Afghan front, the government, its establishment and USA will have to revisit the drawing boards and initiate sustainable and mutually beneficial trust and confidence building measures to bring a viable solution to Afghanistan. Pakistan must demonstrate its ability at tough and persuasive negotiations against the drone attacks and the ability to rehabilitate all factions that agree to end militancy. Pakistan also needs to develop a rehabilitation programme geared towards harnessing this tremendous notion of romanticism towards positive nation building. Once the two-pronged policy is realised and implementable, the government must move to the next step of devolution. Too early a step, will spell disaster for the federation tantamount to moving into the enemies trap. This two-pronged strategy looks too simple. As history proves, all practical and implementable plans are invariably simple. However, this simplicity is belied by the necessity of good governance, tough and objective negotiations and peace as primacy. Within the grey of intentions, perceptions and image theories are valleys full of vested narrow interests and peaks cordoned by sharp cliffs. The difficulty factor is the major challenge to this simplicity. Though the nation is, are our ruling elites willing to eat grass? The writer is a retired Brigadier and Political Economist. Email: