Just like our cricketers, considered sex symbols and glamour icons many moons ago compared to their present-day reputation that lies in tatters, everything else in the land of the pure has become increasingly impure over the last three or four decades. Our image, in the eyes of the West, has gone from good looking and old world to preferably avoidable. Pakistan was recognised in the 70s in England through Benazir Bhutto, Imran Khan, Tariq Ali, BCCI and other similar symbols. Compared to the Indians, the Pakistanis entertained better, looked better and the rich could explain the centurys old feudal, autocratic structure of the country to the gullible West, as a way of life that is best left undisturbed. The actual reasons for the creation of Pakistan and the irrefutably upright and democratic credentials of its progressive founding fathers were thrown out of the window as soon as Quaid-i-Azam passed away in 1948. We opted to pursue and invent different reasons for the existence of our country. The various leaders after independence, some elected and some forced, all treated Pakistan as their personal fiefdoms and gave personal twists to their brand of democracy. To extend and hold on to power, all sorts of excuses were used, including converting the converted to Islam, albeit a version which was more ritual than spiritual. No thought was given to long-term effects of short-sighted policies. Nobody paid any heed to improving the lot of the abject and poor millions or give any respect to laws and regulations. The same ace lawyers came to defend dictators and professed democrats in front of pliant courts, years after years. Each time they got away with the doctrine of necessity. We gave far more importance to flash over substance. The habits and practices of so many years are, therefore, hard to get rid of. In 2007, General Pervez Musharraf, inadvertently, became the harbinger of a new chapter, when he decided to sack the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The CJ did not resign as asked and the rest is well-documented history. The 2009 restoration of the judiciary was the first step taken towards transformation to a law-abiding state. The judiciary has given judgments on many cases since then that have established its image and determination to uphold and provide justice. The most recent example is that of having a retired Brigadier and ex-MD OGDCL arrested from within the court premises for reasons that we all know. It is only, thus, that one tries to fathom the present government trying to defy the Supreme Court once again by challenging its order to write to the Swiss government to re-open the cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. It appears that the PPP government wishes itself to be ousted, so that it can become a martyr and live to fight another day. They seem to have no stomach for the huge sea of challenges that faces Pakistan. The fight seems to have gone out of even the inimitable Secretary Information of the party, Fauzia Wahab. She now only smiles and listens patiently to the never-ending charge sheet on every channel, instead of responding shrilly and angrily, which was her normal style. This has given rise to all sorts of speculations and timeframes. There are a whole lot of people waiting in the wings who want to be part of the new operation clean-up, when it happens. I was surprised to see Ahmed Raza Kasuri, on a TV talk show a few days ago, trying to convince the anchor and the viewers at large on why he is the most natural and obvious choice for being made in charge of the country Syed Mushahid Hussain, Secretary General of PML-Q, and creator of the famous political theory that staying on successfully in power in Pakistan requires the support of the three As (Allah, America, Army, in that order), has opined that the government is collapsing in slow motion. The 170 million people of this frequently wronged country now prepare to take a ringside seat to view, not the slow motion collapse of an order as Mushahid says, but to watch right win over wrong and witness the slow-motion transformation of the state agreeing to provide equal opportunities to all its citizens, instead of a select few. Postscript: The age of accountability is upon us in more ways than one. The aid committed to countries, says President Obama, will be targeted at those countries which help themselves. Aid for poor countries everywhere will become increasingly conditional with rigorous monitoring and accountability to be part of the deal. Another announcement has also followed. It places all the aid to be received by Pakistan through the Kerry-Lugar Act, under a strict regime of monitoring, to be administered by Transparency International (TI). This means that all those in government offices, who were planning to skim some of it off, are in for a disappointment. TI has a track record of pinpointing corrupt practices and its oversight of the aid deal will prevent its misuse. All the fun really has gone out of being the party in power. No kickbacks, no cronies in places requiring merit, no money to splurge, no foreign junkets, no naach gaana, not even an assured place in the Cabinet. One can almost hear the whining: Whats the point, yaar The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: tallatzim@yahoo.com