Asif Zardari and PPP can claim whatever they want to; they can keep saying that corruption cases against him were politically motivated and were not proven in a court of law. But all of these arguments are irrelevant because of what Asif Ali Zardari and his politics, and hence the PPP, have come to symbolize; corruption, lust for power, tame submission to US in disregard of popular sentiment. Those who advocate a radical restructuring of the Pakistani state on the basis of Islam, had put this question many times during the Musharraf era to pro-democracy forces in Pakistan: what difference an elected civilian leadership is going to make if the law of the land and its processes remain the same? The infamous 17th amendment was passed during the reign of a dictator who coerced the parliament into approving it. The amendment is still part of the constitution because a two-thirds majority had agreed to its passage. Now we are witnessing the same majority electing a president, who by all definitions of the word, is considered 'notorious', and thus unfit, for any executive post, let alone that of the President. In case of Musharraf, the popular sentiment and aspirations of the masses had been set aside, just as they have been in case of Asif Zardari too. In one case, the basis was the military might, in the other, the power of a strong political legacy. Is there a difference between democracy and dictatorship? -MOEZ MOBEEN, Islamabad, via e-mail, September 1.