WHILE assessing the country's performance over the years should be a constant exercise of political thinkers and analysts and the rest of society in order to see how to build on the right policies and avoid the pitfalls of the past, the death anniversary of Quaid-I-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that falls today is a most appropriate occasion to do so. Although the cynic would point only to the sombre side of Pakistan's history and wail about a ruinous future, there are, no doubt, positive achievements to its credit as well and the nation's resources, given the right kind of leadership, contain clear possibilities resurgence. The present scenario might have an overwhelmingly depressing look, but we must acknowledge with a sense of relief the strength that the civil society, led by the legal community, has lately shown, whose most outstanding gain has been the restoration of the judiciary that was unceremoniously cashiered en bloc by military dictator Musharraf. The nation now expects the judiciary to assert its constitutional role of rendering justice unencumbered by political influence. To the civil society conscious of democratic rights and an independent judiciary has been added a vocal media - all three beckoning the country to a brighter future. Be it corruption scandals, the misguided policy of kowtowing to the US in the fight against militancy or be it the poor law and order situation, the outcry of criticism can be heard from every quarter. Another hopeful sign is that the country at least has a democratically elected government; its performance is, indeed, riddled with flaws but with a vocal public opinion, one feels confident that in course of time the system would veer around to the ideals of the Quaid-i-Azam. It is unfortunate that the country fell prey to the whims of Bonapartists for half of its existence, which screwed up the system conceived by the Quaid and we lost trail of the way to move forward in the comity of nations. The cardinal requirement of a population educated in modern disciplines to prosper was lost in the endemic political wrangling, with the result that poverty has grown to alarming proportions. The confused scenario, with the ruling classes trying to stay in power by hook or by crook, gave rise to evils like undemocratic amendments in the Constitution, extremism and a host of other erroneous policies. Things have reached a pretty pass, and there is no time to lose. It falls on the ruling leadership to correct our focus. On a priority basis, it must remove constitutional deviations and suitably redress the grievances of smaller provinces and not lose sight of such fundamental issues like the Kashmir dispute with which has been added the existential question of water. Only in this way the country can reverse the course to the Quaid's vision.