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A new year and its endless possibilities

Will Delhi and Islamabad be able to agree on the various components of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue in 2016 and resume talks, or will they spend most of the year talking about talks?Despite rivalries that have become systemic, South Asia`s two nuclear neighbours could best serve their nations by seizing 2016 as the year to craft a new normal.

In the best case scenario,Delhi and Islamabad will begin a process of unbundling the low hanging fruit of items in the dialogue menu while talking about the big ticket items. The trust deficit bogging all progress may get a shot in the arm, if issues like Sir Creek and Wullar Barrage kick off early successes and set the tone for a sustained process.

Trade pathways and the trial of the Mumbai terrorist episode will dominate Delhi`s list of priorities, while Pakistan would seek a larger framework of strategic and core policy interventions.

In all cases, terrorism will require movement from both sides, as will an honest conversation on Kashmir that includes the Kashmiris. In the worst case scenario, spectacular attacks by terrorists in no one`s control could derail this process.

On balance, though, minus any black swan events, 2016 can change the game.

Sherry Rehman, politician and president of the Jinnah Institute Will General Raheel Shareef get an extension in November 2016?I think you are asking the wrong question.

The real question is not whether Raheel Shareef will get an extension, but will he give an extension to the other [Nawaz] Sharif.

However, on a more serious note, it is only in Pakistan that the extension ofthe army chief becomes such a big issue. In a stronger democratic dispensation, the retirement (or not) of an army chief would be a routine matter that would not garner any attention. This is how it should be treated in Pakistan, too.

No one can deny that Raheel Shareef proved to be an extremely competent army chief, but this does not mean that Pakistan Army is devoid of other generals who can do an equally good job.

The strength of an institution lies in the smooth manner in which succession takes place. The army as well as those discussing Shareef`s impending retirement should remember that.

In fact, we all need to remember Charles De Gaulle`s words that the `graveyards are full of indispensable men` and focus on the importance of institutions.

Zahid Hussain, journalist Will the Taliban-Kabul talks lead to a decrease in violence within Afghanistan?`We know that Afghanistan`s success will require the cooperation and support of each of its neighbours.

And all of us in the region India, Pakistan, Iran and others must unite, in trust and cooperation,behind this common purpose and in recognition of our common destiny.

With these words at the Afghan Parliament on Dec 25, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, set the stage for a possible regional anti-terror cooperation in 2016. He drew even heavier applause when he expressed the hope for Pakistan to `become a bridge between South Asia and Afghanistan and beyond.` Modi`s stopover in Lahore, and with the US, UK, India and China on board for Pakistan-Afghan cooperation on the reconciliation front all of whom are now poised for talks with `reconcilable Taliban` it is quite evident that the constituency for peace in Afghanistan will gradually expand.

The `irreconcilable` Afghan Taliban will, meanwhile, attempt to ratchet up violence.

However, the push for reconciliation will reduce the political space for them. Nonetheless, the key, to the damage the Taliban can or cannot do, will be the unity within the National Unity Government.

Imtiaz Gui, executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies