The Pakistani nation was hijacked by adventurers soon after its first Prime Minister Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated during a public meeting in Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951. A bureaucrat Malik Ghulam Muhammed (finance minister at the time) manoeuvred his elevation as the third governor general by replacing the incumbent Khawaja Nazimuddin, who was sworn in as the prime minister. The precedence of dismissing political prime ministers was set in less than two years when the governor general dismissed the second Prime minister of Pakistan in April 1953. Five prime minister followed in quick succession, the shortest duration being that of I. I. Chudrigar lasting two months. The second precedence was set when the retired Major General President Iskandar Mirza assisted by Chief of Army Staff General Ayub Khan abrogated the 1956 constitution and proclaimed the first martial law in October 1958. Then Chief Justice Mohammad Munir of the Supreme Court, in the Dosso case same year, granted unqualified approval to these extra constitutional acts setting another precedence of intellectual dishonesty and weakness of character of the superior court judges. Since then, the Supreme Court has given stamps of approval to the military usurpation of political power by Generals Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf in 1977 and 1999 respectively. Various levels of our judiciary have been privy to dubious judgments following instructions from the executive. In between, an upright Justice Hamoodur Rehman (originally from East Pakistan) declared illegal the imposition of martial law and abrogation of the 1962 constitution by General Yahya Khan in the 1972 Asma Jilani case. But it was only in 2007 that a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court altered the course of our judicial history by defying President General Musharraf in a direct confrontation under confinement in a hostage situation and under serious threat to his personal well being. A year and a half long and relentless campaign by the lawyers, as well as the people, in support of the ousted chief justice eventually led to the resignation of the dictator president, reinstatement of all deposed judges, revival of a democratic government and an independent judiciary. The general public initially welcomed all the four martial laws, hoping for economic prosperity, speedy and fair justice, and a stable and strong government. The military men diverted their attention from public welfare to search for personal legitimacy. Each of them introduced their own half-baked versions of democratic systems that failed to outlive them. The three decades of these one-man rules created a ruling class comprising their faithful politicians and the civil and military bureaucracies that performed as the arms of the dictators who made the law of the land subservient to their insatiable greed and whims. The civil and military bureaucracies established themselves as cohesive institutions that wielded the real power and manipulated the politicians, who remained in disarray. Their governments eventually fell under stiff resistance by the disillusioned people demanding return to undiluted democracy. In the see-saw of power grabs, the common people had nothing to rejoice. The finer points of national pride, ethics and principles were immersed in their quest for the next meal. The most prominent among the short spells of the few democratically elected governments was that of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from 1971-76, who exercised political independence in the aftermath of the military defeat and breakaway of East Pakistan. Both the military and civil bureaucracies were demoralised and depended on Prime Minister Bhutto to bring back the 70,000 prisoners of war from India, and put the remnants of Pakistan back on rails. The nation should be eternally grateful to this leader for restoring the pride of the nation, starting the nuclear programme and compiling a constitution that was approved with the consensus of all political parties in 1973, that sustained numerous rude shocks and has miraculously survived ever since. He eventually fell tragically to the intrigues of the establishment and the vested interests of political opponents. The Benazir and Sharif governments in rotation during the nineties were allowed to function under tacit understanding with the powers of the Establishment. They were dismissed as soon as they tried to exercise their independence and bring the bureaucracy under the control of democratic governments. Unfortunately, the people did not rise to protest against these dismissals. The rival political parties, in actual fact, were witnessed celebrating the undermining of democratic continuity brokered by the army generals. A bulk of the present generation of our politicians that blossomed under the wings of the four military rules was allowed limited space to consolidate, develop and exercise democratic values or ideologies with any conviction. As a consequence, politics has become person specific instead of issue specific, and a means to gain personal power and wealth at the discretion of the leader, camouflaged under the pretensions of working for the people. Pride and faith in the nation have been the sad casualty. The recent Musharraf dictatorial rule, ending in economic disaster, regional and social polarisation, has discredited the civilian role of the army. About 140,000 of its troops are presently bogged down fighting the militants and insurgents in FATA and Balochistan struggling to establish the writ of the government, win back the trust of the people and enhance Pakistans image in the West under hostile global environment. The army has opted to stay on the sidelines with only a peripheral role in civil matters of sensitive nature. The major opposition parties are following a path of least resistance. The media has become a powerful opinion maker, capable of mobilising and putting together all forces to combat any illegitimate attempts to derail the system. Subsequent to the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment, the judiciary cannot uphold the imposition of martial law. There can be no better environment for the political forces in general and the coalition led by the Peoples Party to establish themselves as the credible masters of the destiny of the nation. The brief reminiscence into our six decades of history is conclusive that the four spells of army rule have failed to deliver, the dictators ultimately abandon the nation and are posthumously remembered adversely by the people. The people have once again provided the politicians the authority for which they struggled and sacrificed for over 10 years. But with that, they have also entrusted them with enhanced responsibility to steer the nation on the right course. Do our leaders understand that? If not, then history is known to repeat itself. The writer is an engineer and an entrepreneur Email: