Pledge to uphold the constitution became a byword of almost every political leader who had the floor when the National Assembly met on Monday. Inevitably, it betrayed an acute consciousness of a massive violation the constitution had suffered, irrespective of whether the reins of power were in the hands of a military dictator or a democratically elected leader. Thus, the veteran politician, chief of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Mahmood Khan Achakzai, needed the assurance that, in future, no political party would take a dictator’s ally in its fold. Strangely, though, PPP’s stalwart Makhdoom Amin Fahim, tipped to become the leader of the opposition, staked an unacceptable claim that his party had always struggled for supremacy of the constitution. He was, obviously, refusing to see the stark reality that the main motivation for the universal commitment to preserve and protect the constitution was its unmatched, ruthless disregard during the outgoing PPP-led tenure. Sick of the pledge echoing from every corner of the house, the promises broken all the way by anyone who came to power and the betrayal of the common man, former Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali counselled the house to proceed with the agenda rather than making speeches. He was clearly hinting that they were empty words and could only mean something if and when they were turned into a concrete form. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was cynically dismissive, observing that mere slogan would not bring democracy and the government had to perform. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to hear the MNAs across the political divide to renew the pledge that, according to some, was a manifestation of guilty conscience. With values and principles that are the bedrock of a vibrant, advancing society at their lowest ebb in the country, our leaders and their cronies seem to be relishing corrupt ways. In reversing the stuck-up gear lies the rub! It is, without doubt, a gigantic task, but good news is that there is increasing awareness at all levels that unless effective steps are taken to halt the slide and move upwards, it would pose a serious threat not only to the democratic system, but the country itself. Words to that effect found expression with the newly-inducted MNAs, as they pleaded for living up to the expectations of the man in the street. All eyes are set on the new leadership to deliver. The people no longer have the patience to suffer; they want genuine efforts being made to redress their grievances in the shortest possible time: widespread joblessness, backbreaking inflation, agonising power shutdowns and harrowing insecurity; in short, sheer mismanagement and bad governance.