PRESIDENT Ziaul Haq, who usurped power in a coup on 5 July 1977, and died in an air crash on 17 August 1988, not only sent elected and popular leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to the gallows and flouted the Constitution at will, but also left behind a legacy of militancy wearing the deceptive mantle of religion, whose fallout the nation continues to experience in the form of daily deaths and destruction. The debilitating drug and Kalashnikov culture took root in the country during his ignominious rule, and his obscurantist outlook on religion, which became official policy, created an oppressive atmosphere of religiosity. The democratic rule that followed his death again fell victim to military dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf who continued with the shameful tradition of playing havoc with the Constitution and brought the country to the dangerous pass at which it stands today, before he was ousted from power through a sheer assertion of the people's will. In hindsight, his much-touted economic miracle was just a flash in the pan, and suddenly died with his exit. The country stood rudely awakened to the bitter reality of absence of basic infrastructure and a host of painful memories. While in the past there had never been a persistent demand for taking the coupmakers to task, it is being strongly felt now that unless these soldiers of fortune were duly punished, they would not be deterred from intruding into the political domain. And it seems quite reasonable. As they grab power they feel free to humiliate, banish and even kill political leaders. They level all kinds of charges against them to find moral footing for their rule and thrive at the expense of the nation, which is promised the moon, but ends up with an even deeper sense of deprivation. In a just and democratic system, there should be no room for holy cows. There should, therefore, be no reservation in putting General Musharraf on trial. Let him meet his deserts