Everyone wonders in agony if there will ever be an end to crises and tragedies in our benighted country. We in Pakistan seem to have somehow so mismanaged our affairs as to confront ourselves with dire peril and ceaseless chaos. We are a "warrior" nation and have been tirelessly fighting wars. These are not military wars alone. Our wars have been of all sorts and scale. We have been fighting proxy wars for others but mostly we have been fighting fratricidal, communal, sectarian, and political wars of our own. These have been suicidal wars. We have been killing ourselves and our own institutions. We have been squandering our future. We have paid an immeasurable price in these wars, and continue to pay a heavy price for our governance failures and leadership miscarriages. And still we take no lessons from our wretched history. Instead, we have limited our worldview only to "this evening's breaking news and tomorrow morning's headlines." In our country's politics, what people "know" and "understand" largely depends on what they see, hear, and feel and how they think and act. But in looking at what our leaders do or not do, all we see what is not, and see not what is, because all of us are captives of their whims and with illusions already embedded in our minds, we like to interpret what we want to see or what is easiest to see because we just suppose we have no alternative. This is a dilemma which was illustrated twenty-five centuries ago by none other that world's most renowned political thinker, Plato who had warmed: "Behold Human beings living in an underground den...here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so they cannot move, and can only see before them... Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance and between the fire and the prisoners there is a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets." This is our political scene today. Our people are no more than the puppets or wooden marionettes. We are what T.S Eliot would have depicted as "hollow men" or a group of "human beings living in the dark, leaning together with dried voices and quiet whispers, shape without form, shade without colour, a paralyzed force with gesture without motion. We are a nation without values. We have no convictions. Even our sins lack conviction. We don't take anything to heart. Look, how remorselessly we digested the tragedy of 1971, the worst that could happen to any country. A country's standing in the comity of nations always corresponds directly to its political, social, economic and strategic strength. Unfortunately, throughout its independent statehood, Pakistan has gone through traumatic experiences, which have left us politically unstable, economically weak, socially fragmented and physically disintegrated. We have been changing our faces, our policies and our loyalties. The tragedy of our nation is that democracy was never allowed to flourish in our country, not only because of repeated military take-overs but also because of our own political bankruptcy and the "aridity" of our feudalized political culture. Consistency has never been a virtue with our politicians. They have been exploiting the people in the name of democracy and ideology. They have never honoured their mandate. Pakistan's politics has been flourishing on deception and betrayal. We are at war yet again. It is a political war rooted in the ceaseless struggle for "power and privilege." Our politicians have learnt no lessons. They have been fighting among themselves since the very beginning of our independence. And they have themselves been the end-losers. Political regimes have never been honest in their conduct and behavior. They don't even share with the people the fateful decisions that they take in their name. Now the people are waking up to the sordid reality. They will not trust wolves in disguise any longer. Byzantine intrigue is not new to our politics. Traditionally, the judiciary has also been part of this intrigue. The 1954 dismissal of the Constituent Assembly was the first instance. Now again, it is a "judicial verdict" that has struck a fatal blow to the country's democratic process. By disqualifying the leadership of the country's one of the two largest mainstream political parties, the PCO judiciary, which itself has been facing questions of legitimacy, has uprooted an elected system in the largest province of the country. This in a way is only an epilogue to the apocalyptic war of "power and intrigue" that had been raging in our country since the last two years of the Musharraf era. It seems the ghosts of that era are still out there haunting our system. The source of Musharraf's illegal strength and power, the notorious Seventeenth Amendment, is still hanging in the presidency. This is the scenario so ingeniously choreographed to keep the country embroiled in crisis. As an independent nation, we need to look back on our country's chequered history and do some real soul-searching, howsoever painful or agonizing it may be. But history never looks like history when you are living through it. We in Pakistan are living through our history of crises and tragedies, both real surreal, without any break or respite. Indeed, this has been a "bumpy and jumpy" roller coaster ride taking our country through a multitude of trials and tribulations that perhaps no other country in the world has ever experienced. Our history is witness to this grim reality. During 62 years of our independent statehood, we have seen the rule of law perennially subjugated, constitutions repeatedly trampled and disfigured, elected governments overthrown one after the other in civil and military coups, political opponents including elected prime ministers and veteran provincial leaders eliminated with vengeance, and the country becoming the hotbed of extremism, hatred, violence, terrorism, militancy, intolerance and sectarianism. This week's events in our country are the worst that could happen to any nation. The democratic set-up in Pakistan's largest province stands shaken to the core. Through the illegal Governor's Rule in Punjab, an attempt is now being made to install a government of those who did not have from day one the requisite majority based on the will of the people as manifested in the February 18 elections last year. This would be a clear case of post-poll rigging by the democrats themselves, and will surely portend disaster for the democratic process in the country. Meanwhile, the National Reconciliation Ordinance" (NRO) turns out to be the main cause and casualty of this ugly drama. The spirit of "reconciliation" is dead. The politicians as a class are reeling flat on the ground, disgraced, demoralized and discredited in the eyes of the people. This is exactly what General Musharraf had wanted when he masterminded the notorious "deal" in October 2007 in the name of "national reconciliation. He has indeed knocked the politicians out with ingenious acumen and sophistry. By announcing an "amnesty" for all "politically-motivated" corruption charges pertaining to the period from January 1986 to October 12, 1999 in the name of "national reconciliation" and "political harmony," he managed to kill two birds with one stone: to besmear the image of Pakistan's politicians as he did in his book "In the Line of Fire," and to discredit the country's largest political party in the eyes of the people. The PPP is today the biggest loser and cannot afford to go into polls anytime soon. Pakistan, unfortunately, is today an archetypal example of the Machiavellian princedom in which the infamous doctrine of necessity is the lifeline of the willful ruler who seeks to maintain his rule by hook or by crook. In Pakistan, this doctrine has been repeatedly sanctified to become our political creed allowing successive dictators, civil or military, to circumscribe the supremacy and integrity of the Constitution. Ironically, almost in every instance, there was someone from the judiciary to provide a legal cover to this unconstitutional power play which not only reinforced the systemic aberrations of our body politic but also prolonged the staying power of the willful ruler as well as the agony of the nation. But who cares for the nation? Another Byzantine intrigue is at its full play in our politics. Where will it end, no one knows. The writer is a former foreign secretary