The situation of Pakistan as prevailing on March 07, 2009 can best be described as very grim, if not alarming. This is the most optimistic view but the opposite view is a doomsday scenario painting Pakistan as a failed state - on the verge of collapse - both politically, and economically. There is growing concern, publicly expressed in major world capitals, that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal may not remain in safe hands, raising many doubts in view of the prevailing turmoil, not only within Pakistan, but the South Asian region as a whole. Pakistan has suddenly become the eye of the terrorist storm gripping the whole region. There are no two views about the internal and external challenges facing Pakistan in 2009. In view of the gravity of the situation, posing a serious threat to the national security of Pakistan, the Parliament called a special session of not only the elected representatives but also the political leadership outside the corridors of power, to evolve a national consensus in order to meet the unprecedented challenges facing Pakistan. The Parliament unanimously passed a resolution reflecting a unified national response giving a stern message of unity, faith and discipline, to warn Pakistan's foes not to take this nation of 164 million citizens lightly. India enraged by the Mumbai holocaust got the message and restrained from any sudden move of adventurism. The new US administration also took note of Pakistan's national resolve and opted to review the strategy adopted to deal with the War On Terror. This brought the concerned parties to the negotiation table and averted a serious crisis on Pakistan's external fronts. Then suddenly, through a strange twist of events, the internal political situation in Pakistan took a dramatic turn, plunging the country into the worst crisis of its history. I call it the worst political storm, because it carries the seeds of disintegration of the federation, with the largest province rising in revolt, threatening the eruption of a civil war, for the establishment and restoration of which the nation has undergone colossal sacrifices during the past 61 years. Our political leadership seems to have learnt no lessons from the three wars with India and four martial laws spread over more than three decades, A proverb quotes: "Once bitten, twice shy." Unfortunately our leadership having been bitten by undemocratic intervention so often that they seem to be lured by this vicious circle over and over again. Whatever may be the issue at stake, whether it is the 17th amendment or the restoration of CJ Chaudhry, the fact remains that as a principle of statecraft, there are always many options to handle an issue. This includes the independence of the judiciary and restoration of all the senior members of the judiciary, unjustly remove. Everyone agrees on the restoration but the Parliament has a different view regarding the method of the restoration. It envisages a constitutional package to handle this complex issue. While the lawyers are preparing themselves for a second Long March to Islamabad followed by a sit-in by hundreds of thousands of protesting lawyers and political activists representing parties including PML-N, JUI and PTI, the SC selected this moment to announce the verdict regarding the disqualification of the Sharif brothers. The disqualification of the Sharif brothers has taken the shape of a political bombshell, bringing polarisation between PPP and PML-N to a point of no return. Since the political culture of Pakistan is governed more by the personality of the party chief, rather than different tiers of the party organisation, any rift between the top leadership becomes a personalised gulf between the rank and file of the opposed parties. Therefore the people will suffer as a result of the ongoing fight between Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari. Whereas the president is not willing to restore CJ Chaudhry and with the disqualification of Shahbaz, the PM had no other option but to impose Governor's Rule in Punjab. It all added up for PML-N to demonstrate a massive show of power in major cities, culminating in raising the 'flag of revolt' against not only the federal government but the whole edifice of democracy represented by the Parliament. "Now the fate of Pakistan will be decided on roads," Nawaz Sharif thundered in front of the Punjab Assembly on March 6. Pakistan has thus, regretfully, once again arrived at the crossroad of its destiny whether to chose the path of democracy as visualised by the Founder Fathers or to adopt a path that may lead to a civil war ending in a national disaster. What a tragedy that we all claim to love democracy and yet every time the nation is blessed by it through the ballot, we fail to sustain and nourish this precious gift of God. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum