Looking at the current national scenario Pakistan seems to be making little headway towards progress and development in any sector. The politicians have put the blame on constant military interventions; while the dictators articulated that the people wanted them to save the sinking ship of the state and rejoiced on each military takeover. Even today the debate continues whether the hen or the egg came first. In the past, the leaders of all the major political parties had vowed to shun military involvement in national affairs for good, through signing the so-called historic Charter of Democracy. It was hoped that the dawn of a new democratic era would emerge after General Musharraf resigned or would be impeached. It is now over two years since Musharraf has resigned. Then a democratic government was elected in February 2008. However, the dawn of democracy has remained a mirage. In fact, the state of affairs has worsened. Take any sector, political, economic, social, law and order, education and even sports. Everywhere the society is plunging headlong into darkness in the literary sense of the word. If the economy is measured by universal standards, Pakistan stands nowhere mainly because of the strings attached foreign assistance that is 'often not compatible with the sovereignty of any independent nation. Yet, Pakistan accepts the foreign aid as it has no choice. Moreover, it is a serious issue that the government was not able find a single suitable person from the National Assembly or the Senate to replace the former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin? After weeks, we finally chose a man currently working for an Indian financial institution abroad who was a member of the Musharraf Cabinet, whose remnants the political parties including the government are demanding to wipe out. The question is, will we be able to divert the main thrust of our economic strategy which focuses only on 'begging and 'borrowing? I do not think so The new advisor cannot do so even if he wants to because no government, past or present, have ever endeavoured to design an economic policy based on our own economic strength and within our own means. This is so because the all-powerful in our assemblies are not willing to slash the wasteful expenditures and adopt simple living. The leadership, inside and outside Parliament, has to set a personal example. But that is not to be which is why no genuine economist within the country has offered to accept to steer the Finance Ministry. No one has been told why Shaukat Tarin had to leave. Let us hope the new finance advisor succeeds where his predecessor, very intelligent and competent, apparently failed. Besides this, the lakes of Tarbela and Mangla are hitting the dangerous bottoms. The provinces of Balochistan and Sindh are virtually without electric supply for over 12 to 14 hours everyday. Punjab is doing no better. NWFP is in the grip of war against terrorism which is worse than the constant electricity blackouts. Furthermore, just think about the breakdown of administrative machinery in the capital of the largest province last week suffering from several bomb blasts within hours. Earlier, Karachi had been handed over to the rangers. The masses had not yet recovered from this, when Islamabad along with the twin city of Rawalpindi fell a victim to the dreadful clashes between the police and the public. Certainly, all this is mind-boggling. However, in this bewildering scenario the Punjab Education Minister, Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, blazed a new trail of hope on Saturday morning while launching the new literacy strategy of the Punjab government aimed at achieving 100 percent literacy in the largest province of the country during the next 10 years. Indeed, the motivation was provided by CM Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif. Undoubtedly, the Mians have done a remarkable job to tear down the clouds of ignorance gripping the province. In this endeavour appears a gleam of the dawn of a new era to take the nation out of the deepening darkness that surrounds us. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum.