THE Quaid's birth anniversary should remind the ruling elite of the ideals set by the Founding Father for Pakistan. Happily, there is an elected government in office after nearly nine years of rule by General Musharraf. There is a need on its part to take measures to turn the country into a modern, genuinely democratic welfare state in line with the spiritual values of Islam, as advocated by the Quaid. What is required for this is not only to achieve universal literacy at the earliest but also have a fairly large reserve of highly educated and trained manpower. Many developing countries, which gained freedom years after the creation of Pakistan, are now economically far ahead on account of the attention they paid to education, health and social development, which is a sine qua non for economic progress. The Quaid had observed that he had not worked so hard in his old age for the enrichment of big landlords and capitalists, but for the welfare of the toiling masses. That over 40 percent Pakistanis today live below the poverty line 61 years after the creation of the country indicates a betrayal of the Quaid's teachings by the ruling elite. More funds need to be diverted to education, health and social development if the country is to get rid of poverty. Meanwhile, secure safety nets have to be put in place for the vulnerable sections of society. Democracy cannot be sustained without strong institutions and the rule of law. It is unfortunate that the issue of an independent judiciary continues to hang fire. Despite an agreement in the Charter of Democracy to ensure an independent judiciary, the steps suggested remain unimplemented, and there are complaints that the government is packing the courts with cronies. To sustain democracy, political parties have to show tolerance, maintain working relations and shun becoming tools in the hands of those waiting in the wings to derail the system. The wrangling between the PPP and the PML(N) in Punjab indicates that whatever realisation the political parties have acquired is no more than skin deep. Unless they learn to respect each other's mandate and cooperate to strengthen the system, the future of democracy will remain uncertain. There is a need on the part of these parties to work together to restore the Constitution to its pre-1999 coup position by striking down the 17th Amendment and other provisions alien to the federal parliamentary character of the Basic Law. The Quaid wanted the armed forces to avoid politics and concentrate fully on their professional duties. Repeated affirmation of loyalty to the civilian government by COAS Gen Ashfaq Kayani has been widely welcomed, as have been measures like the recall of military personnel from civilian departments and his direction to the Army to remain apolitical. One hopes that with the passage of time the civilian control over the armed forces would be further strengthened.