He came. He robbed. He left. This is how one could easily describe the success story of an ex-finance minister and prime minister who was imposed on this nation for many years. Having successfully accomplished his master's agenda and with no postal address in Pakistan, he quietly left one fine morning with a simple briefcase and most confidently boarded a London bound flight never ever to return. Little was the nation aware that his baggage to London contained hundreds of valuable gifts including diamond necklaces, Persian carpets, jewelled wrist watches etc, that he had obtained from the government's Toshkhana at throwaway prices 'as per policy'. These gifts were either presented to him during foreign visits or by visiting dignitaries and included some that had been declared and deposited in the State Toshkhana, while almost a third were not even reported. It was a flawed system that legitimised this corrupt practice resulting in financial loss to the state. Musharraf, too, took full advantage of this 'facility'. Both now live a luxurious life in London, while Pakistanis endure the agony of the worst ever conditions in the country's history. Why have Pakistan's ruling and feudal elite displayed lust and greed to amass wealth and riches? We have heard the hair-raising tales of wealth stashed abroad of the NRO beneficiaries, as well as of other high and mighty. Is there some kind of disorder that afflicts all those in power? The true spirit of democracy lies in serving the people, alleviating their sufferings and improving the lot of the common man. While democracy gives authority, it also bestows responsibility on the elected leadership. In no way is democracy a license for loot and plunder of national assets and wealth. Why are authority and position misused to fill bank accounts through kickbacks, commissions in shady government contracts? Why the emphasis on enhanced perks and privileges for the elected representatives when the country is cash starved and surviving on foreign aids and loans? Without a governance strategy, imagine the administrative chaos and inefficiency prevailing in public sector institutions like USC, OGDC and SNGPL etc which were forced through an Ordinance to reabsorb thousands of dismissed employees, inducted in the 90s on political grounds. Having been out of service for over 10 years and involved in God knows all kinds of activities, they are back without any screening, scrutiny or background intelligence checks. Fully aware that the next government may give them marching orders, 'making hay while the sun shines' would remain the guiding principle of all such employees. No wonder, a key state enterprise like Pakistan Steel has declared losses to the tune of 15 billion rupees. Is all well on the strategic front? The petroleum advisor, a medical practitioner and a hot shot of the presidency sheepishly admits on a private TV channel that the carbon tax was technically incorrect, passing on the buck to the Parliament for approving it unanimously. With the energy sector suffering from multiple ailments, the worthy advisor has already forewarned severe gas load shedding in the coming winters. It pains us to see how the Quaid's dream of a self respecting Pakistan emerging as one of the greatest nations on earth, has been shattered solely due to a crisis of leadership in the past 62 years, accentuated by repeated long spells of military rule. Has the nation's self-esteem and pride not been compromised with the country virtually reduced to one that relies less on its own potential, strength and resources but more on the begging bowl? Are the elected rulers not having sleepless nights, being continuously subjected to open insult, ridicule and slander by their own countrymen? Highly disturbing is the newly emerging scenario wherein the political elite seem to have joined hands under the garb of reconciliation. Accountability of mega scams of the Q League era including the engineered stock market crash of 2005, the 2006 sugar scandal, the 55 billion rupees loans write-off and the multi-billion Parha Likha Punjab have all gone with the wind. It is upsetting to read advertisements in the print media regarding auction of confiscated Quingki Rickshaws to recover the defaulted loans from their poor owners while the Big Fish devour billions and roam around freely. The then opposition including the PPP had reportedly filed dozens of Corruption References in NAB against the Shaukat Aziz government. Why have these not been pursued? Will the chairman PAC please release the details of the mega loan scam? How many millions of embezzled public money were recovered by PAC in the last one year? With NAB rendered toothless, how many corrupt Heads of public sector organisations or government officials were dismissed from service or prosecuted for grave financial loss, after public hearings by PAC? Were advance payments in millions made in case of the failed MI-17 helicopters deal of the Cabinet Division during the mid 90s? If so, were these recovered? What action has been taken against the culprits of the Karachi High Rise Fountain debacle? Hopefully the much-revitalised PAC will make public its achievements so far. On Musharraf's desire to return to the presidency to serve Pakistan if given another chance, the nation has this to say: "Thank you general for the NRO and all the havoc that it has unleashed on this unfortunate people." Our rulers with rare exceptions have faced a crisis of integrity and ethics. It is not the people but corrupt and incompetent rulers that have repeatedly failed Pakistan. Leadership is all about inspiring through sacrifice, integrity, fairness, intellect, sagacity, competence and above all transparency in running the affairs of the state. Leadership is least credible when it communicates in the darkness of the late night, as most strangely the current set up is used to. A genuine leadership that has no lust for riches and works tirelessly to enrich the state and not its own pockets, can transform this nation into a model of governance and excellence. Accountability, not Reconciliation is the need of the hour. Pakistan needs Leaders, not Rulers. The writer is a retired brigadier E-mail: fhkhan54@gmail.com