Hadi Iqbal Hussain The evolutionary process spread over centuries has led to a consensus on establishing a central authority to administer civic life in the politically organised society for ultimate economic benefits. This development, which is based on the common mans awareness of his political rights and the might of his expression on the performance of the rulers through the elections, is no longer new; it is an integral part of the democratic system. The federal government, therefore, is required to defend the national frontiers against foreign invasion, provide security against internal threats and facilities for the economic growth of society to enable the people to afford all the essentials of life. Likewise, rule of law should prevail to help them protect their properties and fundamental rights, supported by a judicial system to provide speedy justice and relief to the affected people. So, the yardstick to measure the efficacy of adherence of a government to honour its commitment is economic prosperity and safety of life of the people. Against this backdrop, the PPP-led government and its coalition partners have failed to live up to the expectations of the common man. Their lust for power and money knows no bounds; it is a regime of free for all with a higher credit rating for the more corrupt and dishonest. The media and the people agitating in the streets against this pathetic state of affairs carry little weight, while the judiciary and its verdicts are executed only if the Zardari-Gilani duo considers them worthwhile. Many important court decisions, including the action in consequence of the judgment on the status of NRO that tends to protect corrupt elements, are still pending. It is indicative of the bulwark of resistance against lawlessness and the consequential state of anarchy. In addition, the nation has become bankrupt due to heavy borrowing, while inflation is touching the sky. Economic growth has come to a grinding halt. It seems that President Asif Zardari was right when he claimed that the PPP-led regime has done what had never been done before. The government is working without any fear of accountability. Not even the opposition parties are serious or even mindful of the gravity of the situation. Nobody has worked to bring about a change in the government through a vote of no confidence and mid-term election, which is part of the democratic system. All the major political parties are supporting the governments completion of five years in office, as if looting and mismanagement of national resources was a part of the manifesto of the parties forming and supporting the coalition. So, the question is: How can we save our country and rid the nation of such corrupt and incompetent individuals, who have put the country on a loot sale and the federation at risk? Unfortunately, the laws that deal with such people are not implemented effectively. There is no effective investigation machinery, since the executive controls all the postings and transfers of the investigating personnel. That is why all those involved in corrupt practices are never convicted or punished. Besides elected representatives, even the government officials involved in mega corruption scams have not been punished. The army, too, cannot help control corruption. We have seen the Ayub, Zia and Musharaf eras, and they were no better. Thus, it is extremely important to understand that any regime, even with their best men in place, will fail if there is no effective system of accountability. More so, to improve the social fabric of the Pakistani society in general, the feudal system needs to be rationalised. Maximum landholding will have to be subjected to a review. The feudals, who are dirty rich and have either inherited the land (in most of the cases) or added more to it while in office (i.e. Parliament), have certainly no regard for the misery of the poor masses. This assignment is also for the street power to handle; otherwise, feudal aristocracy is too powerful and will defeat it. Democracy, as a system of governance, permits authority to the ruler for delivering the mandate, but the exercise of power has to have enforceable restraints: It is a system of checks and balances. Democracy is in fact a habit of mind, with overriding consideration for respect for rule of law. American democracy is a good example of a working and living democracy. So are many other settled economies with equally respectable forms in bi-cameral systems, where the head of the state is only a constitutional and ceremonial head. The real head of executive is the majority party leader in the lower house of Parliament elected through a popular vote. This is a system that is much needed in Pakistan. It is, in fact, our legacy from the colonial days. But the occasional takeover by some generals interrupted the growth and maturity of the political process and threw back a few decades its emergence. The health of a democratic system depends upon the working of three major organs of the state, that is, the judiciary, the legislature and the executive, which operate independently to discharge their prescribed functions. No organ should try to block the path of the other. The main force behind this coexistence to achieve best results is respect for law and to treat the Constitution, as a sacred document. We have experimented with various types of democracies or pseudo-democracies, but all systems degenerated into a rule of personal whims giving birth to 'royal families. Consequently, the society is divided into two types of people: The first one is the ruling class, which belongs to an elite club and only changes sides of the fence during the elections. They do not suffer and claim that all the charges of corruption against them are politically motivated. Nothing is ever proved against them and they comfortably manage to maintain massive bank balances, travel in bullet-proof cars, and live in gorgeous palatial houses. The second one is the poor, powerless and destitute masses. Surely, this has to change and equality must prevail. Investigation into corruption charges should be possible even on the complaint of a common man, and held by a judicial commission on the recommendation of Chief Justice. The bicameral system of democracy has failed to work. We, it appears have to opt for a presidential form of government. Today, out of 1,500 elected representatives at the centre and provinces there are allegations of misuse and abuse of authority, and financial corruption against half of them. With such massive corruption, is it not better to opt for a system in which these corrupt politicians are reduced to a position where they have no teeth and no saleable value? There should be only one man, the President at the helm of affairs, who if corrupt, should be looked after by the judicial commission mentioned in the preceding para. n The writer is a freelance columnist.