2017 was not a good year in terms of the Pakistan’s standing at the international level. The country had mostly been on the receiving end of accusations of ‘harbouring’ and ‘sponsoring’ terror. We achieved a number of diplomatic successes as well, including the ECO Summit hosted by Islamabad and the regaining of the UN Human Rights Council seat, but the failures still overshadowed the hard won accomplishments. For the year 2018, Pakistan needs to make a number of resolutions to ensure that mistakes are not repeated. If history is anything to go by, Pakistani leaders have not been very good at learning from mistakes. This needs to change.The first and the foremost area that needs a clear and coordinated policy shift has to do with extremist groups. Pakistan’s failure to convince the international community about its sincerity in war against terror was the consequence of its inability to completely disown these groups. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had admitted that flawed policy choices of the past continue to haunt the country. Despite his recognition of the need to get rid of our liabilities, the flawed policies continue to the extent that there has now been talk of mainstreaming some of these groups.DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor had stated in November that a process to bring extremist groups in the ‘mainstream’ was under consideration. However, after the interior ministry’s recent opposition to the registration of JuD’s political wing as a political party with the Election Commission of Pakistan, the way forward should be clear to all. We hope that all unelected state institutions have noted that the elected representatives of the Pakistani people do not support ‘mainstreaming’ of extremists. Such a policy is neither good for the country’s internal security nor for its foreign relations. *Published in Daily Times, January 1st 2018.