Let the political managers and decision-makers in Pakistan always remember the proverbial truth: "Beggars can't be choosers." Another important misperception held by the mighty and powerful that needs to be corrected is: lofty statements by highly-placed politicians are hollow and meaningless rhetoric - such statements serve no purpose, neither do they change reality nor alter the public's perceptions of existing realities. Towering declarations are used by politicians like dope - as a self-induced sensation to cover-up their failures. A good statesman should stay away from making hefty but empty claims. Pakistani political pundits should also come to grips with reality - that it is incorrect to believe that the masses in this country are politically uncouth, intellectually inferior with the inability to understand politics, uneducated and therefore unable to appreciate the dynamics of the power structure and its impact on the interests of the larger society and the overall dimensions of good or bad governance. Pakistan's civil society is politically sophisticated, intellectually conscientious and agile, and critically aware of past and present national crises. It is true that the masses in this country have been rendered powerless by five long decades of oppression by the military-political elites that continues to-date. But politicians can no longer fool the public. The political elite must also realise that if the public's oppression continues, as seems to be the case, this country's economic, political, moral and sociological disintegration will bring it to its ultimate abyss - the ruling elite alone will be responsible for it. The solution to Pakistan's contemporary crisis (and its salvation) is honest leadership, adherence to the Politics of Purism - a straight-forward, non-rhetorical dialogue with the entire nation by its elected leaders - and an absolute and complete respect for the public mandate of February 18. Nothing else is going to work now. The opportunity to democratise Pakistan is slipping away fast. As the incumbent Pakistani Prime Minister braces himself to meet the self-proclaimed global Emperor, Czar George W Bush, it would be advisable that he (the PM) re-orient himself as a reborn Pakistani democrat infused with the spirit, knowledge and conviction of what it is that the Pakistani nation wants - the intrinsic nature of political realities in the country and the public sentiment on the critical issue of Pakistan's present and future political engagement with the US. The reborn-democrat PM must convey to his host the message that, clearly and un-ambiguously, the entire Pakistani nation wants a humbling of US political power and its military use globally, particularly against the Islamic world, and most specifically, towards Pakistan. The US must demonstrate by its political behaviour that it is an ally and a friend, on equal footing, and Bush is not the Czar of this country (Pakistan). This is how the incumbent PM can validate and authenticate his democratic credentials in the eyes of his nation. Gilani must realise that Pakistanis are well aware that "promoting democracy has, in fact, rarely crossed the line of rhetoric for US policy-makers regardless of their political affiliation..." The public's expectations on the PM's return from the US will be the demonstration of some solid changes in American policy towards Pakistan, and its support for democratic forces (rather than the continued backing of dictatorship). The usual rhetorical affirmations will only lead to further alienation and disapproval of the incumbent government's political policies. However, American behaviour vis--vis Pakistan represents only one dimension of our national problems. The fact of the matter is that roots of several problems lie within us - in our own political conduct of choosing to be permanent beggars. The point is that "beggars can't be choosers." Starting with Ayub's military dictatorship to the epitome of Pakistan's status as a begging state under incumbent president, where it has reached to the extent of shameful selling and surrendering national interests and sovereignty to the American global expansionist agenda in return for US dollars. The real political test of Gilani on his visit to the US is: can the incumbent PM recover Pakistan's lost dignity and restore its forfeited sovereignty from the US, and undertake an independent domestic and foreign policy free from the American yoke and the senseless War On Terror? Indeed, the Pakistani public understands and appreciates national limitations. Pakistan's armed forces are equipped with US armament, dependent on the supply of spare-parts and modernisation of its military arsenal, and it has been historically supported by the US. This does not mean that alternative policy options cannot be considered in the larger interests of the nation " or that an attempt to change American behaviour cannot be made. The politics of the status quo with the US has become an existential threat to Pakistan. Mr Prime Minister, you will have to convey to the US political establishment and President Bush the implicit urgency and the implied reality of this existential threat to our nation at the hands of the US. Your own personal political life hangs on your ability and statesmanship to forge a more sensible and acceptable relationship with the US than the present destructive Pak-American alliance - indeed, ruinous to Pakistan's national interests. Mr Prime Minster, kindly make no more lofty, rhetorical statements as has been done in the past. Mr Prime Minister, let me suggest that perhaps you can offer some insight into democratic behaviour, tolerance and political rationality to your host, the US president... Mr Prime Minister, your nation wants visionary, powerful and effective actions and leadership from you.  Will you do this - or will you not? It depends on the degree of your independence, self-confidence and your integrity, indeed, above and beyond your self-interest... Try it - trust me, it will work The writer is a professor, a political analyst and a conflict resolution expert Email: hl_mehdi@hotmail.com