Pakistan is passing through the most turbulent period in its history of existence. Thanks to our leaders that had the privilege to rule over this country where they formulated and pursued policies to appease the west at the detriment of the national interest putting the nation in dire state. Surely if appeasement is unavoidable then it should be to a limit, but never at the cost of national interest. In addition to this our leaders gave preference to self-interest over national interest and never let go any occasion in filling their kitty with ill-gotten money. Incidentally, the leaders never came out from the grooves of appeasement, ineffectualness and corruption and in the process mortgage the country to the west. And since then we are surviving on their dolling out cash to put bare minimum oxygen in our economy for sustenance and in the process they used us to their needs. Since the USA played the major role in choosing and selecting military and civilian leaderships to run the country to further their interest, therefore obviously these hand picked leaders never displayed the courage to act independently in the national interest, and played to the tune of their masters as their survival in the corridor of power depended on the USA assent. Furthermore these leaders never realised that governing a country like ours, which is not homogeneous; there is marked difference in culture, language and social set-up among the peoples inhabiting its four provinces, requires special handling to keep the country united and in harmony. To achieve this comprehensive domestic and economic policies were needed, and they intentionally faulted in preparing them as it was not in their interest. The leaders were not even prepared to give autonomy to provinces as envisaged in the constitution. This inevitably complicated the matters and created unnecessary resentment. Incidentally due to the lack of good governance, vision, appeasement, corruption, ineptness and looking down upon people resulted in the dismemberment of the country, but leaders have not learned the lesson and continue to display unworthy frame of mind and frequent unnecessary use of force to settle even local issues, where sitting across the table would have had produced amicable solution among acrimonious parties. The use of force alienated the people forcing them to take up the arms against their own armed forces. The foundation of this calamity was solidly laid when the leaders in late seventies took the decision without in depth study about the pros and cons and launched jihad using local pathans and those outsiders who wanted to join in this noble cause to defeat the Soviet Army in occupation of Afghanistan. Initially the US provided limited financial assistance but then came in a big way when they were intoxicated with desire to annihilate the Soviet Army. They undertook to train jihadists in not only in handling of sophisticated weaponry they provided, but also in the use of lethal explosive devices. Ironically, they never undertook comprehensive study or apprehended that these harden fighters might one day turn on their mentor; Friend of today may turn enemy tomorrow. On the other hand, our daft leaders never thought that Afghanistan war was not our war and remaining standoffish might be a better option. They were nostalgic that starting jihad would ensure abode in paradise in the life hereafter. Also with jihadist in power in Afghanistan everything would be as per the wishes of Pakistan, hence no one bothered about its fallout on the country or they gave cursory look to it. To further up the ante the religious leaders were given a free hand to indoctrinate people of all ages for jihad. They succeeded in raising formidable forces, which included foreign fighters who were unwelcome in their own country, armed to the teeth with state of the art weapons to be used later for their interest. After the defeat of the Soviet forces these religious elements continued with their activities unhindered, and taking this as an example religious elements in other areas followed their footstep and formed their own forces. These religious elements got their chance to flex their muscles when the USA routed Taliban and occupied Afghanistan. As precedent had already been set to consider war in Afghanistan as ours so local Taliban joined hands with their counterpart across the border to fight the US forces there. The country's military leadership under pressure from the USA and cognisant of the gravity of the situation decided that the best option to control the situation was through the use of force; instead of given preference to dialogues involving all time proven method of jirgas and all powerful political agents, moved armed forces in the area to force Taliban into submission. Not only this they trusted their judgement to subdue these hardened fighters in short time and the fallout in the shape of suicide attacks that engulfed the whole country and in its wake left carnage, which made the country the most dangerous country in the world, took them open mouthed and napping. Again in all this 'appeasement' played a major role and the country gradually descended towards anarchy and instability. Encouraged by the Taliban's clashes with security forces the local mullahs of other areas; not directly involved against US forces, paralysed the government functionary in Swat and created anarchistic situation in areas close to Peshawar and Balochistan. Taking these elements head on was a policy that was adopted by the previous government that was vehemently criticised even dubbing the architect of it as a US puppet. With the departure of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf there was a glimpse of hope that the situation would get better with the civilian government in power as they would handle it differently. Unfortunately they had nothing new to offer; but to follow the previous govt's policy towards Taliban. Not only this they brought with them lack of ability that put things of immediate concern on the back burner. This resulted in the self-generated crises that gave the impression that there is no governance and powerful mafias are running the country. Even these mafias started creating headaches for the govt. By now the mafias became many-headed monster that you cut one head another would appear somewhere else, and the whole process would start again. So far there has been no controlled magnetism in place. The present incumbent government with a jumbo Cabinet has not lived up to the public expectations. Most of the ministers hardly have any idea of how to run their ministries. All decisions are made in the presidency. This has been the protocol and the result is in front of us - misapprehension in the government circle. One would be an idiot if one thinks that the government would have a different approach to handle the problems confronting the nation especially extremism. We may have brawn but certainly lack brains. We as a nation lack character of creating new ideas to essay problems and always depend on the old way that might be out modelled. We need innovative ideas to rein in these religious elements and wooing could be one of them or making jirga system effective. All ailments the country is facing are self-generated and failure in addressing them has resulted in uncertainty in the minds of the people about the future of this country. The government at present has no perception how to effectively block the growing Taliban' s influence except the use of military force. Parleys with them would be out of question as to succeed one has to bargain from a position of strength and all indications point that we are far from it. Besides, lot of blood has flown on both sides making it more difficult for one party to give in to the demands of others. Truly we are in predicament as we do not know how to run a country and to hide our weakness we blame others. We have a lot of rotten apples in the basket that need to be rid off as they are responsible for where the country stands today. But unfortunately we keep selecting them and then public outrage on incompetence of the government in solving problems. Major problem is that we are a Muslim country but untrustworthy also in the eyes of the West. And our worthy leaders unless restore the confidence by overcoming the problems including controlling the monster of our own making for the glorification of the religion, be prepared for anything that could happen to the country. Whether one agrees or not we have a major quandary in controlling the Taliban's sway. If we have to control it through force, there is nothing wrong with it as Muslim history is replete with such example where uprisings, rebellions or those who challenged the government of the day were crushed through the brutal use of military force. So we would be repeating the same and therefore no crapping. Controlling Taliban is in the interest of the country otherwise any terrorist attacks in neighbouring countries, we will stand accused and inevitably that would result in worsening in relationship. Moreover, we would be pleading our innocence time over and as a dignified nation that should be the last thing we should do. Let us have clean hands and nib the extremism in the bud. Thence we would be a respected nation in the comity of the nations. The writer is a retired lieutenant colonel