Osama bin Ladens assassination by the US Special Forces in Abbottabad in the early hours of 2nd May is the latest instance of the predicament that Pakistan has been facing since 9/11 because of its flawed pro-Taliban policy of the 1990s. The reversal of that policy and our alliance with the US in the war on terrorism in the wake of 9/11 brought us into conflict with the Taliban and ultimately led to acts of terrorism throughout the country. On the other hand, despite our alliance with the US, the Americans continue to view us both as an asset and a problem in the struggle against terrorism. Little wonder that the US continues to ask us to do more. While President Obama acknowledged that Pakistans cooperation helped the US in getting a lead to the whereabouts of Osama, our authorities need to explain to the nation how a high-profile terrorist like Osama was able to find a hiding place in Abbottabad. The people also have the right to know from our government and security forces why they were not able to take action against him and why the American forces were allowed to violate our sovereignty. Even a cursory glance at the state of affairs in Pakistan leaves one with no doubt that the country is facing one of its worst crises. The situation on our borders with Afghanistan is alarming. The US drone attacks are an affront to our sovereignty. Balochistan is virtually in a state of revolt because of the injustices to which it has been subjected historically. The countrys economy, characterised by grinding poverty and high rates of inflation and unemployment, is virtually stagnant. The social and physical infrastructure of the country, which forms the backbone of the economy, is in a deplorable state. Corruption is rife and eating into the vitals of the society. Power shortages are badly hurting the economy, besides causing inconvenience to the people. An average Pakistani is denied the necessities of life leading to daily demonstrations. On the other hand, our decadent ruling classes, both in the civil and the military, live a life of obnoxious luxury. Above all, while the country is in turmoil, we have a political leadership which is clueless about running the affairs of the state in these challenging times. Their only concern seems to be to cling to power at any cost and make the most through corrupt practices while the going is good. The ship of the state appears to be rudderless. Little wonder that the morale of the nation is at its lowest ebb. How has the country reached this sorry state? Who should be held responsible for the present ills of the country? These are the obvious questions that come to ones mind in the face of the alarming situation confronting the nation. An objective analysis of the countrys history leads one to the conclusion that the ambitious army generals and the unscrupulous politicians must bear the primary responsibility for bringing the country to the current deplorable situation. It was the rule of the incompetent and unscrupulous politicians, which paved the way for the first martial law by Ayub Khan. Unfortunately, our politicians failed to learn from their past mistakes leading to repeated military interventions and the overthrow of elected governments. After the signing of the Charter of Democracy by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, one had hoped that the PPP and PML-N, the two biggest national political parties in the country, would conduct their politics in accordance with the recognised rules of a democracy. Unfortunately, that has proved to be a vain hope thanks to the unprincipled political manoeuvrings by the Zardari-led PPP whose only motto seems to be to cling to power at any cost for unbridled corruption. On the other hand, it goes to Nawaz Sharifs credit that he has, by and large, stuck to the spirit of the Charter of Democracy since his return to the country at the end of 2007. He took a principled stand on the issue of the independence and restoration of the superior judiciary in the face of the shenanigans by Zardari. Since the parting of ways between the PPP and PML-N, Nawaz Sharif and his party have criticised the PPP-led government as it is their function being the main opposition party at the Centre, without trying to derail the democratic system in the country. Zardari has now performed another somersault by entering into an alliance with the PML-Q led by the Chaudhrys. It is the same party whom he had criticised as the Qatil League after the tragic assassination of his wife, Benazir Bhutto. Zardaris main consideration is to save his partys government at the Centre so that the money-making business through corrupt practices can continue. On the other hand, the PML-Q consists of a bunch of unscrupulous politicians, who were the mainstay of Musharrafs dictatorial rule and whose leading lights are known for their loot and plunder in the country. It is not surprising, therefore, to see them enter into negotiations with Zardari for getting ministries and other perks and privileges. It is not good governance but the prospect of corruption which beckons the PPP-PML-Q alliance. In short, it is the alliance of the corrupt, by the corrupt, for the corrupt. Unfortunately, the ambitious generals of the Pakistan army, including Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf and their cronies, have been even more guilty than the politicians in wrecking the institutions of the state, blocking the process of political evolution on democratic lines, undermining the rule of law and the sanctity of the Constitution, encouraging corruption in the country, and neglecting the social infrastructure of the economy, particularly education and health. The military governments allocated the lions share of the nations resources to the armed forces at the cost of economic development and the well being of the common man. The armed forces have become virtually unaccountable to the civilian authority, thus encouraging corruption and waste. It is a matter of historical record that all major national disasters took place during the military rule or their seeds were sown during the rule of the generals. The responsibility for the failure of our Kashmir and Afghanistan policies pursued since 1990s lies squarely on the shoulders of our military establishment, which had sidelined the elected governments when they were in place and the Foreign Office in the formulation and implementation of these policies. The situation calls for a radical change in our internal and external policies. Internally, we need to strengthen the democratic institutions of the state and establish the authority of the elected government on the military. The rule of law, the sanctity of the Constitution and the principle of merit must be upheld. Economic development and the well being of the people must be assigned the highest priority in the allocation of resources. Every possible effort must be made to end corruption. Our rulers must adopt a simple lifestyle to avoid waste. Externally, we must bring our foreign policy sights, particularly our Kashmir policy, within the reach of our resources. That the country is in a state of turmoil cannot be denied. There is, of course, a historical background for this gloomy situation as explained above. But three years after assuming power, the PPP-led government at the Centre must bear its own responsibility for the lack of good governance and the rampant corruption from which the country is suffering. Its alliance with the PML-Q, known for corruption and lack of principles, can only aggravate the situation. Time is fast approaching for recourse to the people of Pakistan for a fresh mandate if the Zardari-Gilani duo does not mend its ways. The writer is a retired ambassador. Email: javid.husain@gmail.com