Pakistan suffers today because of the role of its ruling elite, powerbrokers and state institutions. It is a country where corruption has been accepted as a way of life and as long as this mindset prevails, or tolerance for it continues, decadence will continue in cities, towns, institutions and our lives. Any system of government, whether elected or nominated, and all institutions without any exception, must be regulated and their finances subjected to strict auditing. Otherwise, the age-old adage that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" would prevail. Rule of Law must prevail and nobody considered above the law. Our vital human resources remain unutilized because of abuse of merit. Educated professional men and women of integrity have been sidelined and in some cases sent on forced early retirements, to make way for uneducated nincompoops, the so-called street smart crooks whose sole aim in life is to make money, irrespective of the method used. The fate of our once profitable corporations like PIA, Steel Mills, TCP etc is before us. It is an unfortunate reality that both the city and provincial government stood by, indeed were abettors to the crime when thousands of plots and properties in Karachi belonging to the federal government were illegally allotted to cronies causing losses of over Rs 385 billion to the national exchequer. -MALIK TARIQ ALI, Lahore, via e-mail, August 5.