The major problem with being the defacto number one is that if anything goes wrong then the blame is wholly upon you. That is the reason cronyism is not the preferred choice of leaders throughout history. Far better and safer is to allow the rise through merit. The classic examples of bypassing merit were the late Z A Bhutto's minister of finance who unhinged the economy of Pakistan forever, with his policy of 'nationalisation'. General Naqvi and his tinkering with the civil service of Pakistan, created havoc and may bear the responsibility for the downfall of the northern areas. General Zia and his imposition of a twisted Islam whose effects will be with us for many generations. Asif Zardari has the opportunity to make Pakistan a better place, but it seems he is faced with one crisis after another each one bigger and more dangerous than the one preceding. They are certainly not of his making, but the crisis management skills are certainly lacking. The most important problem facing Pakistan is the spread of militancy. It appears that the militants are attacking throughout Pakistan picking targets and striking them at will. They also seem to vanish into thin air. While our Intelligence Bureau seems incapable of infiltrating the groups and getting to their leaders. Rahman Malik has already shown his incompetence at this job, as in his tenure we have witnessed the worst possible security lapses, starting with the attacks on Mohtarama Benazir. She survived the first in Karachi only because of luck and the huge number of her supporters who died as her human shields. In Rawalpindi she was not so lucky, and the assassins took advantage of the security lapse, and achieved their deadly aim. Since then, the militants have increased their activities, with two huge bombings, one at the Marriott in Islamabad barely 800 meters from the presidency where an Iftar was in progress with a guest list consisting of the top 1000 people of Islamabad. Knowing the intense curiosity of the Pakistani neighbour, it is inconceivable that to date there are no arrest nor any clues. Living on top of each other as happens in most of Pakistani cities it is not possible that such huge quantities of explosives could be assembled 'and' driven around for hours during a red alert without being apprehended. It is not that the bombers were lucky, but that our intelligence officials were so inept. We do know that the IB has some very fine, competent officers, and they have had some spectacular successes in the past. So it shows a sudden drop in performance, and the only way is for a change at the top, before these lapses become a habit. We may be a third world country but our ISI, MI, and IB are considered amongst the finest in the world, so this performance is surprising, and shows a malaise at the top. There should be a revamping at the earliest in the department as it appears that the militants have decided to strike forcefully throughout Pakistan. The insurgents are at their most formidable in the cities, and our cities are very vulnerable. It is therefore very surprising that with the government funds which were being ploughed into support of the madrassahs, the feedback has been so poor. The need of the hour is for a team of professional specialists to sift through the mountains of information, and get the support of the people to report to the authorities any suspicious activity so that the police can act. The media can also appeal to the people to beware of these enemies of the State and help hunt them down. Now it is time that merit should rule. President Zardari should study the downfall of the Q league. Incompetence alone was the downfall of Chaudhry Shujaat and company. The president should pick of the best, from outside the party if necessary. Pakistan has some fine officers highly trained and very competent. There are youngsters that are fine executives working in multi-nationals, and can easily fill any of the positions necessary. This is not a new idea but should be acted on quickly. The president is facing many problems, and now the battle is on to save the country from the enemy that is already amongst us. He must act now, decisively - Lest we lose the moment. The writer is a political analyst.