As the nation marks the 64th anniversary of its independence today, the entire nation must admit that the destination set for it at the time of Independence in 1947 has not been achieved. The Pakistan which was conceived by the Poet of the East, Allama Iqbal, and towards which the Quaid-i-Azam worked so hard, has not come about. Independence Day is perhaps the best opportunity we have to take a hard look at ourselves, work out where we left the track, and how to get back onto the right path, and make Pakistan the democratic Islamic welfare state of the Founding Fathers dreams, and to which we still aspire. A quick survey of our history so far would show that opportunities have not so much been lost as wasted. Perhaps the opportunity most to be regretted is of the first decade after Partition, when it was spent on the settling of the Muhajirs. This was succeeded immediately by the decade of dictatorship, mostly under Ayub Khan, but also under Yahya Khan, a very costly experiment which ended in the loss of more than half the country. The democracy that succeeded it was far from perfect, but even that was not allowed to take root. The succeeding Martial Law, that imposed by Zia-ul-Haq, launched the country on a new direction, and its vision of Islam was far from the democratic Islamic welfare state that the Quaid saw. The wrong impression has been spread that the Quaid wanted Pakistan to be a secular state, but he did not want the state Zia tried to bring about, with the leading role it had for the Army. There was a restoration of democracy after that, but the return of martial law, under Pervez Musharraf, and the position he took, prepared Pakistan to be a leading US ally in its war on terror. Just as Pakistan had been the USAs chief ally (and under military rule) when it fought the USSR to make it leave Afghanistan, it was to be its chief ally while it tried to subjugate Afghanistan. There has been another restoration of democracy, but the regime which has resulted, does not seem likely to lead the country to the destiny it sought in 1947. For that, it must adopt the vision of the Founding Fathers which was also the aspiration of the people of that time, as well as of the present. Independence is too precious an inheritance to be squandered. As one of the characteristics of Pakistan is a young population, it should be converted into an asset, and the leadership of the country should be passed on to this generation. If the ruling party focused itself on this task, it would find that it would perhaps do the greatest service to the nation.