Eight years of absolute rule but very little result. Eight years during which the country received over 50 billion dollars from overseas, but nothing seems to have gone into industry or agriculture. Eight years of one-man rule with the largest cabinets at the centre and in the provinces but almost no other new jobs were created. Eight years of total control over the exchequer and complete freedom to spend the nation's wealth but no prosperity to show except that the rich became richer while the underprivileged were plunged into new depths of poverty, misery, and turmoil. Pakistanis at home and abroad felt ever more dejected and foreigners began to speak of a failing and even a failed state. But President Musharraf says, don't blame me, blame Shaukat Aziz, and he is an honourable man. Prices of essential food items have soared beyond the common man's reach, water shortages and hours of load shedding have made their lives more miserable, industrial production and exports have declined sharply, direct foreign investment has almost down to a trickle, the rate of employment has grown whereas balance of payment, budget deficit, foreign debt and defence expenditure have hit the ceiling. However, his hand picked prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, made tall claims of good governance and great economic progress; the annual GDP growth had averaged 7 percent, the level of poverty had decreased from 34 percent to 24 percent, the sale of cars and mobile telephones had doubled and quadrupled and of other imported consumer goods multiplied exponentially. Most of these were repeated by the president ad nauseam as his policies. But they did nothing to avert the current crises - atta, bijlee aur pannee - or even prepare the nation to cope with them. Illiteracy and basic health-care remain dismal if they have not further deteriorated. The National Commission on Human Development was inaugurated by the president in 2002 with great fanfare and endowed with billions of Rupees and millions of dollars. A suavely dressed and smooth talking doctor of Pakistani origin but holding the US nationality was appointed its chairman by the president. However, the doctor who was expected to perform miracles and achieve the millennium development goal of 80 percent literacy by 2015 has been made chairman of the PCB and finds it more important to devote his time and efforts to reforming it and taming Shoaib Akhter. However, the president says, I am not to be blamed and he is an honourable man.     Wars being too serious a business to be left to the generals alone, the president decided to give them charge of civil administration; one 3 star general was made the minister of railways and when he imported defective Chinese engines was made the minister of education. Last year another 3 star general, bright and distant as a star, was appointed and still serves as the chairman or CEO National Education Foundation, (NEF) previously called the Pakistan Literacy Commission, and allocated Rs seven billion to reduce the rate of illiteracy. So far he has appointed a few brigadiers and colonels to assist him, closed down some non-formal schools to cut down the expenditure, is slowly easing out the NGOs, which have been monitoring them for over 10 years mostly at their own cost, and replacing them with armed forces personnel to do the same job at a much higher cost. The president also appointed many generals as vice chancellors of universities, chairmen of federal and provincial public civil service commissions, secretaries and additional secretaries in various ministries and heads of almost every public sector corporation. However, neither the state of education nor the performances of the government has improved. But the president says, I am not to be blamed and he is an honourable man. The war on terrorism and extremism has gone no where. Last year alone, dozens of suicide bombings took place and over 5000 innocent lives were lost, Talibanisation of Pakistan reached Swat and Mardan and even Islamabad where the Khateeb and his brother turned the Lal Masjid into a bastion of Islam, allowed the female students of the Hafsa seminary to illegally occupy the public library and started to implement their version of the Shriah. On the other hand 500 Pakistanis suspected of sympathy with Al-Qaeda, mainly on the basis of the shape of their beards, went missing and most of them remain missing. However, the defence secretary, another retired 3 star general, believes that they were picked up by the agencies, but he was helpless to do anything because he did not have any operational control over them. Every where in the country the law and order situation has also further deteriorated in this period. Serious crimes like murder, rape, kidnapping for ransom, gun point robbery, killing during telephone snatching etc have become so common that the newspapers have stopped reporting them and the common man has started to dispense instant justice by catching the criminals and setting them on fire. But the president says, don't blame me and he is an honourable man. Most of all, the president attempted to force the Chief Justice of Pakistan to resign on spurious charges and when he refused, a case for his dismissal was hastily filed in the Supreme Judicial Council on March 9, 2007. However, when a full bench of the Supreme Court comprising 13 judges exonerated him on July 20, the president declared an Emergency (Martial Law) on November 3, suspended the constitution, issued the PCO, house arrested the chief justice, his family and 60 other senior judges who refused to take the oath on it and replaced them with those who were willing to take the oath. The hunt for a quick replacement of these independent judges became so desperate at one time that the then head of the IB was asked to offer the job to anyone with a law degree, it did matter whether they were morally and otherwise qualified. The constitutional and political crises created by this, self-admitted illegal act, more than six months ago has kept the nation on tenterhooks and endangered its peace, stability and progress. But the president says, "I am a legally elected president" and the PPP co-chairman says, he is a reality, and both of them are honourable men. The writer is a former ambassador E-mail: manalam@hotmail.com