The nation recently "celebrated" Pakistan Day, with the usual pomp and splendour, to commemorate the passing of the historic Resolution in 1940. The country that came into being in 1947 turned sixty years old a few months ago never lived up to the expectations and exhortations of its Founding Father, who amongst other things unequivocally stated that: " The first and foremost duty of the State is to protect the honour, lives and property of citizens. " Religion has nothing to do with the business of State. " The military will be subservient to its civilian masters. " Civil servants to carry out their duties without fear or favour. The celebrations were marked with the usual illumination of public buildings and holding a parade at Islamabad, investiture ceremonies, analyses on television, etc. For over half the population living under the poverty line, it was yet another day in the daily struggle for survival; for the rest it was just another holiday. Others, "celebrated" the day with a huge bonfire at Torkham on the Pak-Afghan Border of over two score oil tankers bound for ISAF in Afghanistan. Commemoration of historical landmark events should be occasions for deep soul-searching, to take stock of what we set out to achieve, and where we stand vis--vis our cherished goals, and not merely as occasions for partying amongst the favoured few and an idle day off from a generally idle, laid-back style of work for those fortunate enough to be employed. While it is true that sixty years on there seems to be much prosperity evident in the land, the bulk of the prosperity it is confined to a select few, while little of it has trickled down to those in the bottom half of the population, notwithstanding the rosy pictures painted by a succession of imported and locally-bred financial wizards. City roads are clogged with new cars, but public transport or mass transit systems mean nothing to policy makers. Most state institutions have been destroyed or face extinction. Law and order are a thing of the distant past; it is now every one for himself or herself, "might is right" being the operative rule. Many of our elected representatives seem to be akin to thugs in Saville Row suits or starched awami attire whose sole, one-point agenda in investing big money in elections is to further enrich themselves, throwing to the four winds their promises of "serving" the people - a quick and good Return on Investment is what the election charade is all about. What is most troubling is the pervasive state of insecurity that has grown exponentially in the last few of years, particularly with the advent of the suicide bombers in ever-increasing numbers. No place, no one, is safe any longer. Private security seems to be the biggest growth industry. In my youth I have driven alone at night several times through the Khyber and Bolan Passes, and through lower Sindh and elsewhere, without a thought about security; now one feels hesitant to drive in urban areas any time of the day or night. I have lived mostly in Rawalpindi Cantonment, once a lovely garrison town; today a person in military uniform seems an attractive target for the jihadis and other hit men. The military professionals were once held in very high esteem by their civilian brethren; today it no longer seems to be the case, thanks in part to the military's long intrusions, and over-exposure, in domains that are not its concern. Most disconcerting, however, is that suicide bombers are targeting military institutions and personnel. Whatever be the reasons for this new phenomenon, Rawalpindi cantonment is taking on the looks of a city under siege with every passing day. Perimeter walls are being raised higher, security apparatus is being installed at the entrance to practically all premises and institutions, with ubiquitous presence of vigilant, armed, flak-jacketed soldiers behind concrete or sandbagged pillboxes. Even a once serene place like a golf course isn't safe any longer, what with gun-toting soldiers patrolling the premises, nor is the Race Course Park (incidentally, why is the Park, built at taxpayers' expense, not freely open to the public, at least on public holidays, and why was it shut down whenever VVIPs watched a polo match in the adjacent grounds under intense security? Recently, Gen Kayani has stopped this practice). It isn't the military alone under siege; one just has to see the raising of perimeter walls around most private premises to gauge the increasing sense of insecurity amongst civilians too. Not to be forgotten is the siege that certain forces are trying to lay around the president. In siege warfare, it is usually the side with the greater firepower and staying power that comes out victorious. Will the new order in Islamabad bring about any change for the better? Don't bet on it; every change is for the worse. Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose, the more things seem to change, the more they remain the same.