After Nelson Mandela liberated his people from the economic, political and socio-cultural tyranny and abuse of power by a megalomaniac white minority regime in South Africa in 1994, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was constituted in 1995 to bring about national harmony and democratic tranquillity to the unfortunate indigenous people, who had suffered poverty, deprivations, suppression and the looting of their homeland by a select minority for endless decades.

Today's Pakistan faces a similar tyranny of a selective native ruling elite that has exercised their abuse of political power and looted the nation with absolute impunity. What Pakistan needs now, and needs urgently, is a Truth, Reconciliation, Recovery, Deliverance and Retribution Commission (TRRDRC) to deliver this nation from the bondage of a traditional political culture, its status quo oriented political structure and the ruling elite that is indefinitely knotted to this deliberately-organised political system. The extent of the abuse of political power and looting in the so-called democratic Pakistan of 2008-2013 specifically (and decades before that) is so massive that it can only be described in the common Urdu phrase: “Lut Gya Pakistan!”

Imagine the enormity of this disgusting and repulsive reality: in a TV talk show, the anchor said that $97 billion belonging to a select group of Pakistanis is stacked up in Swiss banks. The global media has identified these Pakistanis as politicians, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, and God knows who else - perhaps, the mafia working for the ruling elite. The incumbent President is accused of massive corruption in the past and currently the behind-closed-doors presidential patronage of massive financial corruption and abuse of political power.

In another talk show aired on April 10, 2013, several slides (commonly known as tickers) were displayed giving detailed information on the non-payment of loans (loan defaulters) by several prominent members of the ruling elite and the top brass political managers in the outgoing so-called democratic administration.

In the same show, it was revealed that out of 24,094 candidates, who filled their election nomination papers, 10,000 of them had not paid their taxes.

In his latest article, the Chief Investigative Reporter of a local newspaper disclosed the horrors of daylight robbery and abuse of power committed against this nation by the outgoing so-called democratic administration during its last moments of rule, amounting to billions of rupees.

In addition, according to the columnist, the National Assembly Speaker got a loan of Rs 500 million waived during her five-year tenure, and her Deputy Speaker has purchased a CDA plaza worth billions of rupees for a small and insignificant amount of 360 million. Other information contained in this article is mind-boggling.

For example, Rs 2.2 billion were diverted from dam construction funds and developmental projects and distributed among members of Parliament. Even pension funds, savings bank schemes, and the higher education budget were illegally tapped, robbed of billions of rupees, and given to the parliamentarians.

It is also alleged that PML-Q received Rs 2.5 billion from the outgoing government prior to the end of its tenure. That money was distributed among the PML-Q party members. The narrative of this unimaginable abuse of power and organised plunder and pillage of the nation's wealth can only be described in the tragic Urdu phrase: "Lut Gya Pakistan!"

 “The Nation” of April 14, 2013, reported that the Chief Justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court has taken a suo motu notice of the financial and legal irregularities committed at the last minute of tenure by the outgoing administration of ex-Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

“The notice issued by the CJ to the relevant authorities for explanation include "unprecedented security protocol" and several other financial measures granting "unprecedented post-retirement, privileges to former and future prime ministers, interior ministers, former speakers and deputy speakers of Sindh Assembly, and the ex-CMs and provincial ministers.

"The measures seem to be in violation of Articles 4, 9, 24 and 25 of the constitution, the Registrar noted (in the Registrar's note to the CJ). Prima facie, the note said, it seems that at the cost of public exchequer and in violation of Articles 3, 9, 14 and 25 of the constitution, the order issued by former Prime Minister Ashraf and notification dated 14-3-2013 issued by the Interior Ministry are without any lawful authority. 

 “Likewise, two amendments made by the Sindh Assembly extending privileges to the former chief ministers, speakers, deputy speakers and the ministers at the cost of public exchequer being unconstitutional are unwarranted as no law can be promulgated, which is not in consonance with the constitution."

The irony of the matter is that the history that common Pakistanis have shared with the ruling elite is one of suppression, deceit,  poverty, rhetoric, sentimental and religiously symbolic manipulations and outright lying and looting. The fact of the matter is that common citizens of Pakistan in bygone days were much better off in every aspect of life than are the common citizens of democratic Pakistan in 2013.

What good is this democracy in which the national political leaders steal and plunder national wealth? What good is this democracy that multiplies common citizens' deprivations and increases and accelerates the nation's poverty? What good is this democracy where state institutions fail? What good is this democracy where death squads massacre common people indiscriminately and foreign drones rain lethal fire from the sky? What good is this democracy where even safe drinking water is not available for the majority of its citizens? What good is this democracy and its leadership, who do not even have a clue as to what democracy is all about? And the final question is: how do we move beyond this latent resentment at a history we cannot change, and start making better memories?

Change, fundamental change, in the political structure and political leadership, is the only viable choice that Pakistani citizens have. Nothing less will work for this country.

In a private TV talk show of April 14, Dr Tahirul Qadri summed up the entire present-day Pakistani leadership problematic and failure with explosive evidence, demanded strict accountability of political leadership, and concluded by stating that Pakistan will have to send 10,000 politicians and bureaucrats to jail to survive and enact a fundamental change in its political culture and political structure. How many of you disagree with Dr Qadri's conclusion? Vote for change ‘if’ elections are at all held on May 11.

    The writer is UAE-based academic, policy analyst, conflict resolution expert and author of several books on Pakistan and foreign policy issues. He holds a doctorate and a masters degree from Columbia University in New York.