Everybody was optimistic about future after the election on February 18. The general belief was that we have entered a new era of genuine democracy. But these dreams shattered very soon as the nation found itself living in the same political environment they had been living in for almost six decades. Mr. Zardari made a lot of promises with the masses but reneged from all undertakings with justifications so palpably false that all trust has drained out of our body politic. The appointment of a new prime minister has not strengthened the parliamentary democracy at all; in fact, there is a general impression that his predecessor, a puny puppet, has been reincarnated all over again. He is as devoid of any authority as his predecessor was. It would not be wrong to say that Shaukat Aziz has been replaced by another Shaukat Aziz, albeit with a political background and through a popular vote. Mr. Zardari, meanwhile, is elected to be as imposing and dictatorial a president as his predecessor. His election as president is a replacement of Musharraf by another Musharraf, the new one not an ambitious military dictator in uniform but an ambitious feudal lord in civvies. Mr. Zardari would naturally want to keep all powers his predecessor usurped from the parliament. We are in for the same run all over again. -MALIK MUHAMMAD JAVED IQBAL REHAN, Islamabad, via e-mail, September 3.