S. Tariq There comes a time in the life of nations that one yearns to see a leader who can, through personal example and ruthless enforcement of law and justice, lead the country out of the morass of corruption, ineptitude and poverty. Great misfortune befell us when Muhammad Ali Jinnah - the one person, who could do this - left this world just a year after our independence. Professors and pundits of political science bear the view that autocracy and not democracy is an ideal form of good government. They, however, hasten to qualify this statement with the words, but where does one find a benign autocrat? There are, however, examples in history where such autocrats did emerge and lead their countries to greatness and prosperity. Singapore and its first Prime Minister Dr Lee Kuan Yew is one such case. Born on September 16, 1923, Lee remained Prime Minister for three decades before he voluntarily stepped down to enable a stable leadership renewal. He led his Peoples Action Party (PAP) to eight victories from 1959 to 1990, oversaw the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, and its subsequent transformation from a relatively underdeveloped colony with no natural resources into an Asian Tiger. Such was the respect commanded by Dr Lee that the country's second Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, appointed him as Senior Minister in 1990. In 2004, Singapores founding father was given the advisory portfolio of Minister Mentor by his son, Lee Hsien Loong, when the latter became the nation's third Prime Minister in August 2004. On May 14, 2011, Lee announced his retirement from the Cabinet to make way for new leadership. On assuming his first office, Lee realised that Singapore did not have a national culture that could be assimilated by immigrants. He, therefore, embarked on creating a Singaporean Identity that heavily recognised racial individuality within the ambit of multiculturalism. He stressed the importance of maintaining religious tolerance and racial harmony, and used the law to counter any threat leading to ethnic and religious violence. Like Pakistan, Lee Kuan Yew had three issues confronting him - national security, economy and social degradation. He came to grips with the first one by quickly declaring a policy of non-alignment, while building up his armed forces. He took on political corruption by empowering the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (something what our own NAB should have been) to arrest, search, summon witnesses, investigate bank accounts and income tax returns of suspected persons and their families. Dr Lee believed that if the ministers were well paid, they would stay away from corrupt practices. To that end, he brought the salaries of ministers, judges and senior civil servants at par with top professionals in the private sector. He argued that by doing this he would be able to recruit and retain talent to serve in the public sector. Concerned about Singapore's growing population and the resultant overburdening of economy, Lee implemented a 'stop at two family planning campaign, which encouraged couples to undergo sterilisation after two offspring. Children born after the first two were given lower priorities in education and their parents fewer economic rebates. The result was a sharp fall in birth rate and a rise in per capita income to the extent that by the late 1990s, the scheme was discontinued. In another revolutionary move, Lee promulgated a law that encouraged Singapore males to choose highly educated wives. He introduced a Graduate Mothers Scheme that offered incentives such as tax rebates, schooling and housing priorities for graduate mothers. One of Dr Lees abiding beliefs had been the effectiveness of corporal punishment in the form of caning. Singapore had inherited judicial corporal punishment for personal violence from the days of colonial rule, but the countrys founding father expanded its scope to a wide range of crimes, including vandalism. This then is the story of what is now a leading, happy and prosperous nation in the world. It is so because an autocrat, with a dream, ruled it without fear of domestic and international criticism with only one aim in mind - to root out corruption, inculcate discipline and put into place a system of good government that could deliver to the people. What Pakistan needs is just such a person. Perhaps, he is hidden away somewhere in the obscure ranks of some political party - if he is there then let him come forward and lead this nation to glory. The writer is a freelance columnist.