THE meeting between President Asif Zardari and PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif at the latter's Raiwind Estate on Friday, the first since the two stopped talking to each other over the judges issue, was more of an icebreaker that may lead to an end of the mistrust between the two mainstream parties. The meeting coincided with the Supreme Court verdict acquitting Mian Nawaz in the plane hijacking case and clearing the way for his return to electoral politics. President Zardari congratulated his host on this and termed the court decision a step in the direction of ensuring a level playing field for all political leaders and parties. The two leaders first met along with their aides over lunch before having a one-on-one session that lasted for three hours. There was not much hope of any major breakthrough, but this interaction could really help get things off to a great start. They can now become more engaged and contribute more effectively towards tackling the challenges facing the country. The eleven-point joint declaration issued shortly before Mr Zardari's departure from the Sharif Palace contained renewed commitments from the two mainstream parties to do away with the 17th Amendment, along with all undemocratic clauses tagged on to the Constitution by a dictator. The two sides agreed to continue the process of result-oriented dialogue and directed the Constitutional Reforms Committee to complete its task at the earliest and suggest effective changes to the Constitution. There was a consensus that most of the problems faced by the current dispensation were inherited from the past nine years of the military dictatorship. Both mainstream parties expressed their resolve not to let the militants challenge the writ of the state or dictate their terms on gunpoint, while reaffirming their commitment to make joint efforts to deal with the rising tide of militancy in the country. That the two sides are on the same page on this particular issue is welcome. They cannot afford to ignore the activities of the elements who continue to pose a serious threat to national security by expanding their networks, earlier restricted to the troubled tribal region, to the settled areas across the country. The issue of terrorism in the Punjab also figured at the Punjab Cabinet meeting which Mr Zardari presided over later. The leaders of the two mainstream parties probably understood that they could not simply sit across the table and just discuss politics in general. There had to be something concrete on the agenda. It is good to hear from Mian Nawaz and his colleagues that they would not disturb the present set-up and let the PPP government complete its term. The meeting between Mr Zardari and Mian Nawaz bears sign of goodwill; they now have to walk the talk.