The whole world is frantically debating the protest movement raging all over the otherwise dormant Middle East. The basic reason behind the violent uprising in parts of the Arab world including Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and simmering of resistance in other countries of the region is that power has never been transferred peacefully from one regime to the next in an orderly manner. The mode of transfer of power in the advanced democracies is at massive variance with the manner the autocratic regimes cling to power in the less developed parts of the globe. Dictators claim that they are the countrys guardians. Before being kicked into the dust bin of history, a French King is known to have famously declared that I am the state. The British French, American and other European revolutions were sparked by the reluctance of the rulers to relinquish power in a peaceful manner. History is full of examples of dictators fleeing for personal safety or being lynched by angry mobs. Hosni Mubarrak having learnt nothing from history ridiculously claims that he represents stability and that he will defend Egypt. Dictators cannot draw a line between freedom and stability. We in Pakistan have yet to see a government having transferred power through peaceful means. Your readers are welcome to correct me if I am wrong in this assessment. If peaceful transfer of power had taken place regularly in Pakistan the country would not have been dismembered by internal and external foes of the nation. Where do we go from here? The government and the opposition have a joint responsibility to make the next transition orderly and peaceful through free, fair and impartial elections. There is a domestic crisis going on but I am hopefully confident that the government of the day will come out of this acid test with flying colors. I am not denying the magnitude of political, economic and social problems including extremism in particular. No other country in the world is totally free from these problems but advanced democratic nations have settled the primordial issue of power transfer as sine qua non of a sustainable democratic order. This is where we are lagging far behind. It is clear that we cannot afford another violent transfer of power. If after 64 years of wandering in the political wilderness we cannot manage transfer of power in a peaceful and transparent manner the existential threats to the country may materialize into a dreaded reality. Is anyone listening? I am deeply worried and even anguished by the deafening silence of our otherwise vibrant civil society regarding the historic developments taking place in Freedom Square in Cairo. If a new Egypt is being born it is equally good for Pakistan as well because freedom in the world is indivisible. B A MALIK, Islamabad, February 5.