Despite the fact that Pakistan has been the ally of the most powerful country on the earth, the US, for the last half-a-century, such relation could not help the South Asian country to build the infrastructure necessary for its independent and honourable survival. Pakistan is facing multiple challenges but no serious efforts have been made to counter them. No long term planning has come to the fore. Nothing like that is in process. Every government, civilian or military, has only made things the messier. Pakistan had begun well; there was a hope that it would soon find a proper place under the sun. Unfortunately, hope has faded away with every passing year. An enlightened society, educated none but the great learned men of Sufi tradition, has fallen prey to extremist tendencies. Political instability, economic fragility and institutional anomalies have brought us on the verge of failure. The visionless political leadership and the unrestrained bureaucracy have turned the country into virtually an ungovernable entity. Economy is in dire straits while the pressure groups are making their way flouting the writ of the state. The religious militancy is simply out of control; FATA and Swat have fallen prey to anarchy while the fate of Peshawar hangs in balance. Lack of consensus among the political parties is the biggest hurdle to countering insurgency. The monopolists and profiteers are bent up on taking the country in their own direction. Riding on the wave of economic liberalisation, hoarders and speculators have taken the essential goods far away from the reach of the common man. Industry is evading taxes and not properly observing labour and environmental laws; lawyers are making every effort to make the judicial system dysfunctional by sit-ins and boycotts of judicial process and protest rallies. Taken as a whole, perpetrators are driving the system on extractive and exploitative dimensions. These are the poor and marginalised sections of the society that suffer the most at the end of the day. Corruption, nepotism and inefficiency of the bureaucracy have the potential to fail every government, military or civilian. The country could not frame its constitution for a whole formative and crucial decade. The politicians and parties quarrelled with each other while Indian Act 1935 regulated the affairs of the people. Strong centre had created a sense of resentment in the majority of the population, and such irritation continues to dominate the agenda of politics even after the country has been cut to the size. The 1973 constitution is usually projected as the consensus document but the promises it made and public goods it intended to deliver are still being awaited. The concurrent list persists to the disenchantment of the smaller provinces despite the time for its abolition has elapsed decades ago; the religious credentials of the state have encouraged the bigots to impose their agenda at gun point; they call it jihad The four big units the federation created after the dismantling of the One Unit, after the lost of the eastern wing, have failed to cater to the needs of the growing population while provincialism has prevented the federation from taking meaningful steps to tap its natural resources for the good of the commoners. None has made serious efforts to reset the objectives of the state; the reactionary elements continue to interpret the religious identity of the state to suppress the freedom and liberties of the majority. Civil and military regimes have amended the constitution only to serve their narrow interests. One problem that keeps on lingering is the balance of power between the offices of the president and the premier. The 62 years should be enough to decide about the power equation. Domineering and deceitful conduct of the bureaucracy is another cause of concern that is failing politics and economy, the both. In real terms executives are not answerable to the legislature or to the people. No accountability process is in practice to prevent bad planning and mismanaging of the public domain. Granting extensions in services on personal liking or on the bases of political affiliation is destroying the institution and has become a big challenge to professionalism. Non-futuristic, non-cooperative and egoistic atmospheres is producing unproductive and anti-people policies. Competent executives are meant for translating the vision of the political leadership into concrete policies. The procedures related to the administration should be spelled clearly and in very transparent manners; the discretionary powers should be deleted from the domain of executives. Strict accountability is required to enhance the productivity of executives. Judicial infrastructure needs to be kept out of the political influence. The history of Pakistan makes it evident that politicians and generals have been using the judiciary to advance their narrow interests. A few judges have saved their careers but nothing good has happened for the institution that they had actually to serve first - judiciary. The ultimate result of all the acts of dishonesty, committed by the people at the helm of affairs, was that the lost prestige and respect of public institutions in the eyes of the people. The moral degeneration of the society is another result of the corrupt practices of the judges, executives and the politicians have yet to be counted. Unfortunately enough, the apex court of the country has been used as a tool to legitimise civil and military dictatorships - one does not need to explain what Doctrine of Necessity implies. The independence of judiciary is essential to develop a rule based society; it is also imperative for democratic dispensation. The performance of a judicial system is linked with the development of socio-economic growth; the more the judges are upright the more the better conditions for political order are created. Though Pakistan is a complex society where tribal and sectarian identities are strong enough to resist the emergence of a functional political order but still the passage to peace and stability passes through nowhere but the judiciary, for it can be a source of relief for the people hurt hard by the tribal and feudal characteristic of the society. Needless to say, the political parties, bureaucracy (civil and military) needs to be efficient and upright while building order out of chaotic and disruptive environment which the people find themselves even half-a-century of their independence from the colonial rule. The state needs to be strong and mighty but it has to reconcile power and justice to prove its worth in the comity of nations. Tribal, ethnic and sectarian identities are a hurdle in the nation-building process. Political order built on the pillars of justice and wisdom is must for the emergence of a united and strong nation. There is nothing wrong in saying that we have to promote nationalism to counter threats from outside. The political system, constitution, government and civil society all have to strive for this goal; they should do whatever they can to save the country from going into the hands of mafias, Taliban or the oligarchy of the rich. Needless to say, if Pakistan has to stay democratic the political parties should come out with an answer to the woes that are afflicting the polity right now. They have not only to build up their organisational structure on democratic principles but also train their cadres in the art of state crafting; they should managerial skills to put bureaucracy at work. They have to work as an institution where from the leadership should emerge. In the game of power; knowledge plays the decisive role The writer is an Islamabad-based political and defence analyst E-mail: