For nine long years, the Chaudhries of Gujrat have ruled and plundered Punjab, courtesy the illegitimate and unconstitutional rule of General Musharraf. Pakistans tragedy has been the continuous domination of this country by the uniformed mediocrity. With their penchant for amassing wealth overnight and patronizing the culture for corruption, they considered it kosher for those who supported their junta to loot as much as they could. This phenomenon is not new to the subcontinent, where the British also bought loyalties of the locals with the same method to prolong their colonial Raj for over 200 years. What we have failed to realise is that when corruption is resorted to at this scale by the rulers of a state, the first casualty is national security and sovereignty. If we look back at our history, Zias military rule also gave rise to extremism, sectarian and ethnic divisions while his cronies made billions by pilfering the financial and military aid. Lack of any credible accountability system is the other major factor because of which the corruption has continued unabated in our state. The biggest collaborators in corruption are the civil and military bureaucracy of the country and the 'political orphans who come out of their rodent holes immediately the moment boots hit the ground in Islamabad. The country has suffered massively due to this collusion of the uniform and the starched turban. It is time to hold accountable all those who were part of this pack of looters, be they politicians or members of the civil or khaki bureaucracy. -ALI MALIK, Lahore, September 30.