Pakistan today faces a crisis as severe as the 1971 debacle. We are involved in a battle for our survival, a struggle to defend our way of life and the legacy of our founding fathers. This is a crisis of our own making, our collective failure, because we all stood by when men like Ziaul Haq, Musharraf and their lackeys set about destroying all our state institutions. We are paying for the sins of those who needlessly involved us in the Afghan war of 80s. As a result, the country was infested by Jihadis, illegal ammunitions and drugs whose infiltration led to creation of mafias that started ethnic and sectarian warfare. While the corrupt overnight became billionaires, the country was harmed from within due to greed of a few. As a nation we failed to rise up and protest against this phenomenon. Even today we hear many an apologist on our TV supporting the extremists and continue to tolerate them. No country in the world can tolerate such people while the nation is in a state of war, a war to defend the legacy of its founding fathers. I fail to understand the point of view of those who openly question whether or not this war is ours. It is too late now. We are in it and there is no turning back now. The time to stand up was when the mercenary dictators had held this country and its national security hostage to prolong their illegitimate rule. -MALIK TARIQ ALI, Lahore, via e-mail, June 18.