On July 5, 1977 General Ziaul Haq toppled the elected government of Zulifkar Ali Bhutto and imposed martial law in the country. He was the third military dictator. Zia's agenda was clearly defined: neutralise democracy, propagate Islam and indulge in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union. In implementing his master's wishes he shook the very foundations of his own country. Although Zia was a general, however, he was unfit to lead the army. Compared to the two tyrants (Ayub, Yahya) before him, Zia was ruthless and lethal with no scruples or principles. His approach was simple, be polite and deliver nothing for the nation. Furthermore, the Afghan war was fought from Pakistan and for this the mujahideen were recruited, trained, armed and launched from the Pakistani soil without any authoritative/legal sanction from the people or their representatives. It was a total sell out of the sovereignty and integrity of the motherland. It was only Bhutto who spoke out against this major policy shift, but Zia was determined to be the villain and when the Supreme Court under Justice Yakub Ali accepted to hear Nusrat Bhutto's case the dictator removed him and appointed Justice Anwarul Haq. During Bhutto's trial, Zia played a terrible role. He changed and intimidated the judges and reduced the institution to a rubber stamp. In the final appeal there were nine judges, he got rid of Justice Waheed-ud-Din and Qaiser Khan. Justice Safdar Shah one of the dissenting judges had to leave the country to avoid his wrath leaving behind a majority of six judges whom he could manipulate. Till the end he promised to spare the life of the Quaid-i-Awam, but eventually went back on his word. Moreover, Zia defaced the 1973 constitution that was unanimously adopted. The dictator destroyed Pakistan and its civilian institutions, recovery from which seems impossible. So much has been annihilated by so few that it is mind-boggling. He institutionalised corruption and all evil practices including hypocrisy; promotions were tied to loyalty and show of piety. The superpower play that Zia indulged in was much beyond the capacity of a developing country like Pakistan. The Afghan war and Zia's misrule were lethal in the eighties, while in the nineties Musharraf's eight years again pushed Pakistan into the arena as a frontline state in the war against terror. Pakistan needs to put its own house in order to get out of this superpower play that has brought the country to the brim of disaster. The Ayub, Yahya, Zia, Musharraf sell out has to be reversed. Only real democracy can ensure sovereignty and rule of law. Cases have been filed against the fourth usurper, a similar process should be initiated against Zia. The Supreme Court has already declared Ayub and Yahya as tyrants now is the turn of Zia and Musharraf to put an end to adventurism for all times to come. The writer is ex-chairman of the Pakistan Science Foundation