Pakistan censures the US’ religious freedom report, says the state department’s report was politically motivated, is aimed at pressurizing Pakistan and also to hide American failure in Afghanistan. Such a report has no meaning when president Trump has sought Pakistan’s help on the Taliban issue and Pakistan has already taken action in this context as per the Prime minister Imran Khan’s confirmation. Washington had to delve further to know causes of the exponential rise in Islamophobia. Pakistan urged the United States to put its own house in order and check racism first. The Foreign office said, there are serious questions regarding the credentials and impartiality of the self-proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise, which has no purpose except to malign Pakistan.It should be remembered that hate mongering and malice as well as prejudice are ultimately equivalent to deceit and lack of ethics and the absence of much needed empathy. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. It is time that the United States of America makes a sincere effort to ensure peace in Afghanistan and end the occupation of a poor country which has been subjected to violent cruelty for so long. Peace in Afghanistan is a guarantee for peace and security in Pakistan. Trust deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan has to be removed. In this context foreign ministers of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan met in Kabul to continue their efforts to build mutual political trust and support reconciliation, development for cooperation and connectivity, security and counter-terrorism strategies. The three Countries signed an MOU and reiterated their firm commitment to implement activities and projects agreed upon.There was a need to evolve a sound, pragmatic theoretical frame of reference regarding issues and challenges, including policy and governance, which require strategies to tackle real issues, (internal as well as external). Pakistan as a player on the world stage enjoys special status as a leader, fighting to support and defend others in their struggle for the right of self-determination and independence, and other causes linked to pace and security and welfare of the people worldwide.Bringing about reforms in institutions and various sectors of the economy is a complex task which requires time, energy and patience, in addition to many other inputs. Reform initiatives have to come from political leaders in the government with cooperation and support from the oppositionWhat is good for Pakistan, what will help improve our national image and give us increasingly a more effective space for an honorable place worldwide? It involves complex factors- courage in leadership is essential for institution building and for a dynamic balance to prevent destabilization of economy and society. The real issue for Pakistan is to work for national unity and social integration, it is a must that we stop non-state actors from challenging the writ of the state. We need to look for alternatives to resolve the issues, one of the most important steps would be to strength state institutions and make state structures more effective in line with objectives and functions of state. Pakistan for much of its existence has faced one crisis after another, primarily wrought by its geographic location in a historically volatile neighborhood and the political naiveté, of its leadership (civil as well as military).Securing Pakistan’s borders and stamping out the fresh wave of militant secessionism sponsored by hostile neighbours should be accomplished ruthlessly and without apologies. It is up to our leadership to rethink and take the needed initiatives. Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror must be duly acknowledged. Those talking of ‘doing more’ will learn that they are not well informed or are under the influence of the enemy of Pakistan.A recently launched book ‘Existential question for Pakistan’ is focused on institutions (as interrelated set of norms), social systems (as interrelated set of institutions), culture, customs, traditions, values, attitudes and behaviors, the people; in short the state and society and more. Pakistan’s strength lies in territorial sovereignty and independence. Internal unity is our strength and a symbol of state authority. Strong foreign policy indicates positive image of Pakistan. It helps to convert challenges into opportunities and weaknesses into strengths.National integration is of vital significance for securing national and public interests. For effective decision-making Pakistan has to think of varied perspectives, need for strengthening the federation, and giving due importance to a ‘reconciliation policy’ in decision-making, particularly, in internal and external relations.It is important for policy makers and administrators to give due importance to common interests of federating units and other territories. Secondly, consider why are approaches to management often ‘counter-productive’ (for example, if groups or tribes have their own ways of administering areas / territories or governing of people) and these traditions are not kept in view.Negotiating skills are very important. Specially, when apprehending trouble-makers and negotiating and dealing with authorities at different levels of administration and decision-making hierarchy.If systems of governance vary, there is a need to understand who to deal with to be successful in different regions staying in line with local culture, focusing on strategies which are productive and useful in overcoming issues and problems.Understanding the rule of the situation is important. Is the use of force helpful, it is dependant on the situation. Experience shows that use of force is often counter-productive. However, force is needed where things get out of control and are unmanageable. Writ of the state has to be established, justice served, and the trouble-makers have to be brought to the book.It is important to help avoid complicating matters in a given case. We can learn from case studies, which are a source of guidance and help in decision-making.Strategies have to be adopted and adapted to ensure the safety and security of a territory. It is important to keep people informed and take all stakeholders in confidence. Informal communication is often quicker and can expedite the process.Bringing about reforms in institutions and various sectors of the economy is a complex task which requires time, energy and patience, in addition to many other inputs. Reform initiatives have to come from political leaders in the government with cooperation and support from the opposition.The writer is a former Director, National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), Government of Pakistan, a political analyst, a public policy expert and an author. His book Post 9/11 Pakistan was published in the United StatesPublished in Daily Times, December 21st 2018.