PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardaris third address to the Parliament failed to inspire. Rather pedantic in delivery, it was bureaucratic in form with a list of achievements centring on the 18th Constitutional amendment and the NFC Award being read out. Ironically the President paid lip service to defending Pakistans sovereignty but failed to condemn the most brazen challenge to it in the form of US drone attacks. There was nothing on offer to alleviate the economic hardships that have increased manifold during the present governments tenure in power; nor was there any mention of ending corruption and nepotism. He spoke about the support for the agricultural sector but the reality is that the agricultural sector continues to suffer more now than ever before with water shortages, power cuts and dumping of agricultural products by India. It was sad to see the President still unsure of himself and having to rely totally on the Bhutto name so the speech was inundated with references to his late wife and somewhat fewer references to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In fact, it came as a pleasant surprise to see in the surfeit of Bhutto references, a quote from the founder of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah. With the advent of this government he has almost been lost sight of, yet it would do the President some good to remember that he does not only represent the PPP only now but all Pakistanis - which should make him claim the Quaids legacy rather than simply declaring himself as the custodian of the Bhuttos legacy. But it was clear that unless he constantly reminds the nation of his Bhutto connection, he feels insecure in his Zardari persona With little fresh to offer, the only new point was his declaration that there would be a national inquiry into Ms Bhuttos death. Now why did it take two years for him to make this decision and in the meantime to waste scarce national resources on a UN inquiry? A swipe at the judiciary was also included when he referred to pillars of the state validating dictatorial constitutional aberrations. What was also noticed was that the only two people he commended by name, other than Senator Rabbani for his persistence and hard work on the 18th amendment, were Babar Awan and Rehman Malik - the two controversial figures in the context of the NRO. In the foreign context also, only the UK and US leaders were thanked, although what Obamas new initiatives on Pakistan is remains a mystery With no humility for the shortcomings his government has been guilty of, and with an implied support for controversial measures like rising utility prices and following IMF diktat, while offering nothing in economic terms for the public at large, the Presidential address began and ended on a whimper rather than a bang of optimism for the nation. Clearly, the leadership shows little interest in ameliorating the travails of the ordinary Pakistani.