The founding fathers of Pakistan have very unequivocally stated that Pakistan should be a modern democratic welfare country, where every citizen irrespective of his caste, sex or creed would enjoy equal rights as free citizens of this country. There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that neither military dictatorship, nor a nominated technocratic set-up could provide the solutions to our problems and keep the federation intact. It is very unfortunate, that this elected coalition government has failed to deliver good governance and not made any institutional effort to strengthen rule of law in Pakistan. The problem is not with democracy, nor is it true that democracy cannot work in this country. If those elected consider, that they have a lease for five years, to do as they please in violation of laws, ethics or morality and in total disregard to basic constitutional rights of every citizen, than the problem is with individuals and not the democratic system. The essence of democracy is right of dissent, accountability, transparency and respect for public opinion, meritocracy, rule of law and an independent judiciary. If those elected do not adhere to democratic norms and are guilty of failing to perform their role as honest custodians of tax payers money and public funded organizations, than they are guilty of having violated their constitutional oath and must either reform, or there is a need for a constitutional change of guards within the defined perimeters of our constitution. Individuals cannot hold the constitution to ransom, nor should elected constitutional office holders have a conflict of interest, where they are either seen to maintain their assets abroad, or hold any dual residential status. MALIK TARIQ ALI, Lahore, February 21.