Pakistan's 61 year history is a sad saga of incompetent governments, which fought two disastrous wars with India and lost half of the country in 1971. Pakistan's past regimes flagrantly abused power, either openly or deceptively in the garb of democracy. These hijackers of Pakistan, drawn mostly from the feudal, bureaucratic or military elite, barring a few rare exceptions, neither represented the people over whom they ruled, nor shared the ideals and the vision behind the creation of this "safe haven" for Muslims where they could uphold and safeguard their endangered religious and cultural identity and live a life of dignity and self-respect away from the swirling sea of hatred and bigotry of Hindu India. Most of these rulers violated with impunity the basic human rights of the citizens, including their most cherished religious and democratic right of dissent and the freedom of expression. They abused the media of mass communication as much as they abused their authority to suppress the truth and spread falsehood in order to distort the country's history and ideology. With callous disregard for the nation's integrity and solidarity, they sowed a bitter harvest of ethnicity and inter-provincial animosity which ultimately led to Pakistan's disintegration only twenty five years after its birth. Not learning any lesson from the traumatic experience of 1971, the successive military and civilian governments also failed to regenerate and revitalise the nation and put it on the path of progress and prosperity. On the contrary, the country further slipped into the quagmire of instability, massive corruption, rampant violence, and ethnic and sectarian strife. In recent years, the unabashed plunder of the nation's wealth by the ruling elite and their families and cronies, combined with gross financial mismanagement and undemocratic style of governance, once again, brought the country to the brink of instability and economic collapse. The present democratic government, which has come into power after eight long years of dictatorial rule of General Musharraf, seems to be no better than the previous ones. The recent Mumbai carnage unleashed by a handful of well trained and well armed Muslim terrorists, has once again brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war. Radical elements and to some extent the media in both countries are whipping up the war hysteria without realising its disastrous consequences. The Indian government immediately blamed that the terrorists came from Pakistan and belonged to a Pakistani terrorist outfit - Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an off shoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan also immediately denied the Indian charges without verifying the facts. After some verbal duals Pakistan demanded that India must produce some plausible proof of the Pakistani origin of the attackers. Finally India sent to Pakistan a 50 pager dossier containing proof that one terrorist Ajmal Kasab, who luckily for India survived, while nine of his colleagues perished, has admitted that he belongs to a village in Pakistani Punjab. The case was badly bungled when Prime Minister's National Security Advisor Mr Mehmud Ali Durrani divulged to the media the Pakistani nationality of Ajmal Kasab, presumably with President Zardari's consent, while Pakistan's foreign office and even the prime minister did not have this information or if he had, he did not want to announce it at this stage. Since Mr Durrani pre-empted the prime minister, he sacked him from his post in a fit of rage without verifying the facts. This bungling is ample evidence of lack of coordination and poor governance at the top echelons of the government. Prime Minister Gilani recently disclosed that the premier intelligence agencies of the United States and Pakistan had been working closely to untangle the knots of the Mumbai carnage mystery and recently the Inter-Services Intelligence had provided a detailed response to the questions and issues raised by the US investigators on behalf of their Indian counterparts. He said that Mr Durrani was removed by the president for bypassing the prime minister. The details which have come to light about Mr Durrani's association with an American Think Tank, his appointment by former President Musharraf as Pakistan's Ambassador in the US, followed by his posting in the present government on the sensitive post of National Security Advisor, are ample proofs of his secret connections with US intelligence agencies. The mishandling of the Ajmal Kasab case by the Pakistan government has given a bad name to the country and its confused and disorganised government. Although Pakistan is not responsible for the actions of Ajmal Kasab and his gang, but it is definitely responsible for leaving Lashkar-e-Taiba's progeny, Jamaat-ud-Dawa free to breed terrorists who played havoc with India-Pakistan relations and the on-going peace process. Finally, the gesture by President Zardari to award Hilal-e-Pakistan to US Vice President-elect Mr Biden, and Tamgha-e-Quaid-e-Azam to a US State department official, Mr Boucher, with complete disregard of the anti-US sentiments of the people of Pakistan has undoubtedly done more to further cement Pak-US friendship than Gen Musharraf's relentless seven years efforts. The writer is former director news, PTV E-mail: