The last week of the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League — Noon (PML-N) government has brought an unprecedented change in Pakistan’s constitutional and political apparatus. An absolute majority of the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan has passed the 31st amendment to the constitution. The provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has also ratified this new piece of legislation. The president has also signed the bill making it the law of the land. This was a long overdue demand from a few political parties and, above all, a substantial societal segment of crisis-riddled FATA. The constitutional amendment is meant to bring social, economic and political transformation in FATA. The constitutional framework for the KP-FATA merger is a momentous development, but a lot more is yet to be done to bring substantial changes in the region. This constitutional amendment is a steppingstone for something big. The wounds of the past 70 years cannot be healed with a single swing of a pen. A long, patient and painstaking effort is needed to integrate FATA into the national mainstream. Public consumption and acceptance of these developments in FATA is the responsibility of all political parties, security establishment and members of civil society. Political and cultural integration and transformation of the conventional mindset is a rather tough challenge for future governments in KP and the centre. Now, instead of focusing on the geo-strategic importance of FATA (now part of KP), we should take into consideration humanitarian dimension of the region. We should consider the residents of this crisis-torn region human first, and then look into strategic calculations. The wounds of the past 70 years cannot be healed with a single swing of a pen. A long, patient and painstaking effort is needed to integrate FATA into the national mainstream Pakistan has been, as Dr Ayesha Jalal once opined, a truncated, moth-eaten and mutilated country after partition. The consensus developed in this FATA issue by political and security forces should be replicated to resolve a few other seriously daunting matters. The resolution of all outstanding problems and reorganisation of national politics is going to tough, and it looks like a bumpy road ahead. Here are few of the issues that need urgent attention of policymakers before it gets too late. First, in the past 70 years, we have failed to develop a comprehensive and venerable institutional framework to manage the affairs of the state effectively. Since the notorious judgment in the Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan Case 1955, we have miserably failed to develop a sustained and effective institutional functioning mechanism. This is the time to implement globally-endorsed norms of institutional hierarchy, whereby, everyone works within their own respective domain. This issue should be brought to the public domain and deliberated rigorously. If the issue is not resolved once and for all, the ostracised and underprivileged segments of society will explode with no limits. Second, we are yet to chalk out a comprehensive national security policy with all stakeholders onboard to combat the menace of terrorism once and for all. Whether we like it or not, a good number of people are still sympathetic towards banned organisations in Pakistan. The entire framework of National Action Plan has not been accepted wholeheartedly by political parties and by all corners of our society. The political parties calculate their decisions keeping in mind electoral contingencies and leverage fanatical mindsets in the country. In the last two decades, Pakistan has suffered insurmountable loss; however, we have not eliminated terrorists and the extremist mindset from our society. Third, Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan talks about giving free and compulsory education to all children from the age of five to 16. Unfortunately, millions of children are out of schools and are lost to criminal activities and destruction. Along with that, the reinvigoration of curriculum to adjust with modern scientific progress and innovation is a dire need. The existing curriculum doesn’t compliment innovative changes taking place worldwide. Our current generation is studying decades-old literature on science and humanities. The textbooks recommended for government institutions seriously lack the depth and variety needed to0 encapsulate scientific and modern education. Under the given circumstances, a nationwide consensus is needed to put the education system back on track. Fourth, inclusiveness of all factions of society in mainstream decision-making and agenda setting is paramount for the smooth functioning of state business. Vibrant states and societies don’t ignore social orientations. All segments of society, irrespective of their caste, colour, creed and religious-cum-political affiliations should be a part of development and prosperity in any state. On this count too, Pakistan has failed to integrate all factions of society. Still, some equals are more equal than others in the state of Pakistan. As a state, we desperately need to overcome this dilemma at the earliest. The upcoming General Elections are offering yet another opportunity to put the house in order. Let’s hope that this time it is not an opportunity wasted. The writer is an Islamabad-based attorney at law, teaching constitutional law and principles of political science at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU). He can be reached at Amjad.firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, June 13th 2018.