Over a thousand Pakistanis offered the supreme sacrifice of their lives because they considered democracy worth dying for. The day Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto arrived in Karachi on October 18, 2007, two massive explosions ripped through a crowd of hundreds of thousands that had lined up on Sharahe-e Faisal to receive her. The blasts killed over 180 innocent Pakistanis. Benazir miraculously survived the assassination attempt because of the explosives-proof truck she was travelling in. The attack occurred when a tin-pot military dictator was still in power and his cronies ruled Karachi and Sindh. Benazir finally fell victim to the murderers she had escaped in Karachi when she embraced martyrdom on 27 December in Rawalpindi, again in another blast which killed another 45 innocent Pakistanis alongside her. To date, those who had murdered hundreds of these Pakistanis, including Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, have neither been arrested nor tried anywhere. Not even a proper investigation has been launched to provide justice and solace to the poor souls who lost their kith and kin in these tragic incidents. Those who offered their lives had hoped that democracy would come and Pakistan become a democratic country where nobody is above the law and welfare of the people top most priority of the state. Instead what we have now are never-ending financial scams in which we hear of state resources being plundered mercilessly without any fear of accountability. Incidences of rape, child abuse, robberies, street crimes, politically motivated targeted killings and violence caused by religious fanaticism have all escalated beyond measure. Institutionalised corruption, with patronage of the ruling elite has driven public sector corporations like Pakistan Steel Mills, TCP, PIA, Pakistan Railways etc to near bankruptcy. Scarce state funds that should have been utilized for welfare and development of our human resource are being wasted to feed these white elephants. The executive is seen defending those who indulged in crimes of forgery, perjury and corruption. Justice is being denied to the poor because the state is unwilling to prosecute criminals and thugs. The martyrs who offered their lives for democracy would be deemed having died in vain if Pakistan remains as it was then, or worse, as it is today. -MALIK TARIQ, Lahore, July 20.