Pakistan is a dream turned sour, very few will disagree. Over the last six decades, we have failed to realise the hopes and aspirations of the people and to secure a respectable niche worthy of our promise and potential in the comity of nations. Pakistan is today faced with a multitude of crises, the root cause being the lack of good governance. In a recent issue, Foreign Policy Magazine in an index of failed states has placed Pakistan at the bottom of the 10 failed states. Once the largest Islamic state in the world and pride of the Ummah as the only Muslim nuclear power in the world is today placed lower even to Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Afghanistan, and Iran among others. Pakistan is today passing through multiple crises ranging from energy shortages to breakdown of law and order to violence and terror, creating a sense of insecurity and frustration that is eating into the vitals of the nation's identity and dignity. The crisis of governance is all-pervasive but is most evident in political turmoil, rising cost of living, the increasing poverty graph and rampant corruption sans accountability. The government in public perception has, over the last 16 months of its existence, failed to address any of these issues and has lost its credibility and trust at home. The economic meltdown exposed how weak and unreliable the leadership is. No Muslim country came to its rescue and Pakistan had to suffer the humiliation of conditionalties-laden loans to survive - a pathetic slight for the only Muslim nuclear power. Saudi Arabia pledged US$1 billion for Gaza's faltering economy and a country of 170 million Muslims went a begging. Gilani has the distinction of presiding over the largest and perhaps the most incompetent Cabinet in Pakistan's history. To accommodate political cronies, new ministries have been created providing sinecure jobs. Pakistan is the only country having elevated small departments like postal services and textiles to federal ministry level. Besides in-charge ministers, these ministries have junior ministers and parliamentary secretaries, not to speak of bloated bureaucracies in 46 divisions serving them. The institutions of the president and prime minister deemed to be the symbol of unity and integrity appear to be as unmindful of public miseries and the need for austerity as their predecessors. Pakistan is constitutionally a parliamentary democracy and hence accountable to the electorate. In fact both Parliament and Executive are equally callous to public needs and the current crisis. The president according to the current year budget would cost one million rupees everyday of the year and the PM spends Rs 3 million a day in a country with one-third of its population living below the poverty line. The story of this wastage and uneasy burden does not end here. The PM has on average spent Rs 20 million every month on his journeys abroad. On each trip an army of 60 or so friends have accompanied him. To be fair to President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani, it may be mentioned that their predecessor had a record of criminal neglect of public good and a treasury. Shaukat Aziz during his tenure wasted Rs 1.2 billion on his 47 foreign visits. President Musharraf outdid his prime minister and, apart from state visits abroad, spent Rs 227 million on the launching of his book In the line of Fire. The regal manner in which the rulers have treated themselves at the tremendous expense of the misery of the ruled is most depressing. The presidency has a total staff of 761 and prime minister's secretariat a total of 1005, including 180 personal servants. That the secretariat of the president and prime minister run at a cost of 4 million a day is simply crass. The federal secretariat is the prime minister's secretariat. Having yet another parallel secretariat only adds to the bureaucratic channels and red tape. Similarly Why should the president need a 761 staff secretariat to look after him does not have executive powers? People's growing lack of confidence in the system and failure of their leaders to solve their problems have added to the complexity and intensity of the existing issues of corrupt and dysfunctional institutions and poor governance. Unless public unrest is gauged in time and corrective measures taken the rulers would be in for a rude shock. The writer is a former ambassador