March 16, 2009 will go down in the annals of history as a glowing landmark for the people of Pakistan. In the recently concluded "Long March," many actors had played their useful part in defusing the situation and in helping the warring parties get closer to an acceptable solution. All such patriotic elements deserve appreciation. On the whole, the momentous events of March 16, richly contributed towards proving that citizens of Pakistan, by and large, are patriotic and certain inherent weaknesses notwithstanding, they have the potential to alter the destiny of their nation. The recent spectacular success of the mass movement, has exploded the myth that the process of decision-making in the country is determined by outside powers, both internal and external. In the past, outside powers have been dictating terms to us. Luckily now the situation is considerably changed. Redeeming feature of the present long march was that organisers of this campaign had made sure that their preference was to preserve institutions rather than individuals. Viewed in this context, there was no personal angle or ambition. Luckily, this "recipe," tried for the first time in our history, worked well. Incidentally the lawyers, the politicians and the people at large, had bravely faced the wrath of the state. All these actors relied on their own strength and did not deem it proper to ask for military intervention. They felt relieved when they saw that the Army had not directly intervened. As is clear, in such turbulent times, when the very existence of the country was at stake, Army could have easily stepped in but luckily, the Army Chief played his part with grace and dignity and he acted only as a silent facilitator. He lived up to his words that the Army would not return to the military follies of the past. Luckily, the present crisis has been almost fully controlled, but it is important to remember that the successful "Long March" is not the end of the journey. The prime purpose behind the lawyers' campaign was to establish judicial independence and ensure rule of law in the country. In principle, these demands have been met, but we should not feel unduly complacent. Our main emphasis should be to ensure stability of our constitution and our abiding to preserve its sanctity. Our legal institutions must be strengthened and the achievements of the "Long March" must be used as a means to help make further changes possible, This done, we could then truly say that we have embarked on a journey towards success and a lasting change in Pakistan's fortunes. In his pithy and meaningful comments, General Jahangir Karamat, maintains that with the successful culmination of "Long March," democracy stands strengthened. As a result of this achievement, a shift of the power centre to the people is now clear. This opens a new chapter in Pakistan's history as hope and optimism pervade the environment, after the gloom generated by the deadlock. It will not be amiss to mention here that there were many doomsday scenarios predicted, when the angry mobs were seen marching towards Islamabad. It was the time when rumors were afloat that the military intervention was close at hand. People were giving vent to these feelings in view of their experience of the past. However, nothing of the sort happened. It is extremely gratifying that this time the situation is totally different as the military has deliberately refrained from involving itself in political somersaults. Instead, it has exercised an effective influence in the right quarters. General Kayani's preference has been on the consolidation of institutions rather than focusing on the individuals. His "recipe" has worked well. In his case, there has been no angle or ambition and his approach has been quite patriotic. Under his command, the Army has given no indication to derail democracy. This successful experiment augurs well for the future of democracy and for consolidation of civil-military relations. The military has demonstrated its full support for democracy and total abhorrence for intervention Quietly but firmly a precedence has been set to determine the future course of events which augurs well for the political stability. As the political turmoil is now over with the restoration of the deposed judges, the Army Chief, has surely earned great respect of the masses. Although there are a few analysts who believe that the role played by the Army Chief does not fully conform to the constitutional requirements, the "million dollar question remains: Was there any alternative left? The writer is a freelance analyst