This is a deeply unhappy troubled country and it is virtually impossible to apportion blame to anyone or anything but itself and its unfortunate predilection - its inability to produce a leadership of any acceptable calibre or standing. This present government (in name only) should be treated as a joke under normal circumstances, in a stable country that could hold its own against gross mismanagement and corruption, but by its very existence it poses a threat to the 175 million people forced to tolerate it, albeit it was voted in. But then, what were the alternatives at the time? They were certainly no better. So it all boils down to the fact that there is a void when it comes to leadership qualities. And sadly for us, it must be recognised that there is no quick fix. The United States cannot be blamed for the inherent lack, but it can be blamed for imposing a government so manifestly inept to deal with the systematic changes for which the country cries out. Pakistan is a victim of circumstances, and has been for decades. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi last week, from his home fiefdom in Multan, after his negotiations with the Americans over the contentious Kerry-Lugar issue, told the press that he had made it quite clear to the Americans that they are responsible for the terrorism that has stalked the land for 30 years, and is now relentlessly with us almost on a daily basis. Well, no one held a gun to President General Ziaul Haqs head when the mujahadeen were created, armed and supported. Pakistan went along with it all quite happily as it opened up amazing opportunities for the military and civil ruling clique of the time. Since then it has admittedly been downhill - but again, no one held a gun to Benazir Bhuttos head, or to the heads of her ministers, when the Taliban were adopted as their 'children in the early 1990s. No one held a gun to the head of Nawaz Sharif when he played 'footsie with the religious right and attempted to bring in his 15th constitutional amendment which would have made him caliph of all he surveyed and gone a long way to what is now known as the Talibanisation of Pakistan. Foreign Minister Qureshis volte face in the Kerry-Lugar matter was entirely at the instigation of the army which for its own reasons voiced its objections to conditions perceived to be imposed upon it - though it must for months have been aware of what was happening on the conditionality front. Then we have the story that surfaced last week, spread all over the internet, that the foreign ministers son was allegedly an employee of Senator John Kerry. How is it that our men at the top are so adept at doing questionable, even stupid, things? With the uproar caused by the aid package to Pakistan one must sympathise with Kerrys remark that he never realised it was so difficult to give away money. Then we come to the army - the military as an entity is of no consequence as it is the army that rules the roost. Having battled with a great deal of success (though if reports be true not complete success) in Swat and Malakand, spurred on by the US it has now ventured into South Waziristan. Exactly how successful it is and will be in that territory we will not know as we are only told what they army wishes us to be told, the national and international press being kept far away from the scene of action. What we do know is that the countrys citizens, including its students, are being targeted and remorselessly blown up by the 'enemy, fellow Muslim-Pakistanis, who, despite the armys efforts, have spread themselves, so far, in the NWFP and Punjab. Sindh is warned on a daily basis that its turn is coming. How are people supposed to live normal lives under these circumstances which are entirely out of control of the sham government which we taxpayers have to suffer and even of the army whose areas of activity are limited? General Kayani is largely praised for having stayed away, since the elections, from straying into the political field. But it must be remembered that the worthy general is highly versed in politics, having headed the fearsome ISI, been party to all the negotiations and 'deals struck between President General Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto and the US. As army chief he also, undoubtedly, played a part in the deals struck between the US and Asif Ali Zardari when he accidentally took over from his wife. He is no stranger to political wheeling and dealing. Kayani needs all his wits about him right now because he is making a brave face of fitting in the essential principle of public service that it is elected governments which set policies and generals which implement them. He finds himself with an elected government incapable of setting any policy. He is publicly adhering to the constitutional convention of not voicing his concerns with the failing government (apart from the Kerry-Lugar outburst) and is giving the impression that what he is doing is with the consensus of the elected representatives. However he is isolated, in our case wars will have to be run by generals as the constitutional head of the armed forces cannot in any way decide how best to safeguard the country and the peoples security. The president cannot dictate strategy to his commanders neither can he lay out any decisions to be implemented. Ashfaq Kayani is out there on his own, and if we are to have faith in anyone, it will have to be him. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: