Ever since Pakistan's independence in 1947, the strategic goals and national security policy was never defined by any political government. The reasons are many which it is now too late to recount. Both military and civilian leaders, including many important institutions of the state, could not formulate a well-coordinated national plan to make a concerted push towards development and progress as per the vision of Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam. Pakistan has fought three wars on its Eastern border with India and also faced dismemberment in East Pakistan. However, it is unfortunate that the civil and military leadership of Pakistan learnt no lessons from our painful history. Had we done so, Pakistan would not find itself in the present position of internal and external challenges including the grave threat perceptions on our Eastern as well as Western borders. Talking of national security and Pakistan's strategic goals, the political leadership's top priority was restoration of democracy. Therefore, the major two political parties and their leadership in exile focused on riddance from the rule of Musharraf. This goal was achieved as a result of the February elections and then Musharraf's resignation in August. The four party coalition broke up exactly a week after Musharraf's resignation, ushering in a fresh wave of uncertainty about the future. In short, the post Musharraf era has not kicked off on a happy note of the real dawn of democracy in view of the apparent rift between the two major political parties whose leadership had so recently sworn to work together till the nation had tided over its grave internal and external challenges. It is really sad to comment on the political leaderships understanding of the threat that the federation faces currently. There is confusion about national priorities. There is no consensus on how to control insurgency in the tribal areas. Terrorism is galore pushing Pakistan towards destabilisation if not an early collapse of the present system. The economy is rapidly sliding downwards. Some domestic and foreign observers make no secret of suggesting that there is no government worth the name in command at the moment. Most of the people and the media agree that the new government incharge of the affairs of the state for the last five months has not demonstrated any evidence of good governance. In this, rather dismal backdrop, the top US and Pakistan military commanders held a meeting on August 27 abroad US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Indian ocean to discuss the great concern both Pakistan and the US feel about the threat posed by the militants. However the few important aspects of this meeting are worth noting. It was no ordinary meeting which may be described as a routine contact between the military commanders of the two countries. Although the stated agenda was focused on the War on Terror but it can be safely presumed that all other security issues pertaining to the region were discussed. There was unanimity of views on the broad framework of tactical and strategic policies to be pursued till success was achieved. It is obvious that such a meeting and its agenda cannot be conducted without proper planning over a period of time and without the blessings of the respective governments. Just as the policy decisions are taken at the government level both in Washington and Islamabad, the security plan is implemented by a nominated military commander. Note the remarks by Admiral Mullen after the meeting: "General Kayani knows better about the ground realities in the area. He is committed to doing what is best for Pakistan and he is going to stay the same way. I am encouraged by his resolution to improve the situation but it continuous to be an extraordinary complex problem." Mullen also said, "We understand that it is an area we can all improve on, but it is not something that is going to be solved over night." It is obvious that the US has acknowledged that Pakistan should handle the situation in their own best interest which will pave the way for peace and security in the region. The objective of holding the meeting on the aircraft carrier was obviously to ensure security for all the participants involved and also to maintained complete secrecy. As reported by one of the participants in this meeting that the tone and style of the conference of this nature was that of mutual understanding and appreciation of the difficulties faced by each country: "it was one of those meetings which help to clear the air and remove the dust of misunderstanding, at the same time moving forward with a renewed resolve of mutual cooperation till final success." l hope that the meeting abroad the Abraham Lincoln promotes peace and democracy in the area in the same spirit which was shared by President Abraham Lincoln and Pakistan's Founder Father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum E-mail: ikramullah@nation.com.pk