The "dream" of America's black religious leader Dr Martin Luther King was fulfilled after 41 years when on January 20, 2009, another African-American leader born of a Kenyan Muslim father and a white American mother, Barack Hussein Obama took oath of office as the 44th President of the United States of America. The history was made. Not only that a black American became the US President, after 149 years of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation which gave negro slaves their freedom, but also because for the first time in American history a Christian insisted on using his Muslim name "Hussein" while taking his oath. This was symbolic of the new president's message against religious sensitivities existing in America today. Later in his beautifully crafted inaugural address, the best after President Kennedy's historic oration, he emphasised his point by saying: "For we know that our patchwork heritage is our strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth. And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering a new era of peace." It must be noted that in America, the word 'Jew' has always followed the word 'Christian'; never by the word 'Muslim'. It may also be noted that the word 'Muslim' has never been used in the inaugural address of any US President. President Obama has broken this tradition. Not only this, he also addressed the Muslim world for the first time when he said: "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not on what you destroy." He also admonished the Muslim world leaders: "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." Referring to the current wave of terrorism and violence in the world, and the American state of economy Mr Obama said: "We are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened as a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights. "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met." During his 18 minute address, Mr Obama was cheered and applauded by over 2 million people who had gathered in and around the Capitol Hill in biting cold to see the history made. The first executive order of President Obama issued from his offices in the White House was to stop the military trials for four months of those Muslim prisoners arrested from various parts of the Islamic world including Pakistan who had been kept without trials since 2002 in the most inhuman conditions and daily torture in violation of Geneva Convention and the UN Charter. President Obama had promised during his election campaign to close down the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison which is a blot on America's face and it's a violation of the US constitution and its image as a democratic country. The prison is expected to be closed in about one and a half year. The current prison camp complex lies on a US military base occupying a small strip of land on the southern coast of Cuba. The prisoners are those that former President Bush had termed as "enemy combatants and former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described as "the worst of the worst. President Obama also signed executive orders to shut down the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison along with several other prisons run by CIA in many parts of the world, "no later than one year." The president also made two major appointments of special envoys - veteran diplomats Richard Holbrook for Afghanistan and Pakistan and George Mitchell, a seasoned international trouble shooter for the Middle East. In short President Obama did in two days what former President Bush could not do in eight years. Obama administration has also issued its foreign policy agenda linking US aid to Pakistan with its performance in the war against terror on its borders with Afghanistan. The emphasis would be on a non-military aid of US$1.5 billion a year to provide modern education and improve the socio-economic conditions of the deprived tribal areas. The new US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during her confirmation hearing that President Barack Obama supports a proposed US$15 billion aid package for Pakistan. Senator Clinton outlined a policy that realises the limitation of US military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan and stresses the need to focus on economic and political engagement with the two nations. This change in US aid policy will no doubt be a positive one provided the Pakistani government succeeds in implementing it. The writer is former director news, PTV E-mail: burhanhasan@hotmail.com