In the 1880s the Maharaja of Baroda said: India must cease to be an agricultural country and must make her place among the commercial and manufacturing nations. I can conceive of no loftier mission. We need to attain Europes loftier political ideal, and acquire their business ways. Now, here is a maharaja of a state of India who over 150 years ago recognised the strengths and weaknesses of his country and what the country needed to do to be counted as a country and as a nation in the future. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had a vision, Allama Iqbal had a vision but ever since their departure, the country has been suffering from a leadership crisis. We have bumped along for over 60 year on a bumpy road that has led us nowhere, and we were bestowed with an assortment of leaders amongst which most of them followed the old adage, Make hay while the sun shines, and then went about plundering this land as ruthlessly as they could. When Pakistan came into existence there was so much potential in natural resources, agriculture and manpower. People then, and even today, if shown the right path and with proper guidance, laws and governance, can make this a leading, developed country of the world. If the people of Pakistan behave as decent law abiding citizens in any country abroad why cant they be the same over here? The reason is pretty simple: there they fear the law; here there is no such fear. Today, in the year 2010, do any of our leaders have the remotest idea of what our countrys strengths and weaknesses are and what is the road to the future? Where do they see us placed and how do they propose to get this country there?. Any politically conscious citizen of this country who has an iota of commonsense realised that Pakistan was strong armed into accepting Americas terms after 9/11. Today, we are following what our friends for the time being are telling us to do. They have their own road map for us, which we are being forced to follow. The simple truth is that our continuous economic and social woes suit them; they dont want to see us growing strong as a nation, especially one with nuclear arms. An economically, culturally and socially strong and educated independent nation with nuclear capability would be a nightmare for them. There is a lot of talk from our leaders about becoming a modern Islamic state. But does anyone of them have the foggiest notion as to what this means? Which country will be our role model, Malaysia, Turkey or Saudi Arabia? Do we not realise that we are where we are what we are because of ourselves? We are all individually and collectively to blame for this sorry state of affairs that we have landed ourselves in. If anyone was to take an honest unbiased look, what would they find in our dearly beloved country? At the top of the list would be dishonesty. We as a nation are dishonest. Where and how this has come to be is pretty simple to determine. We got a country, we got our freedom, and instead of cherishing it and nurturing it, we went about gleefully plundering it. This practice continues today. We will lie, cheat, use any devious means to gain what we need. Be it money, be it power, or be it anything. If it grabs our imagination we will pour all our energies into acquiring it and that too by all means that are foul. Yet we proudly state that we are all good God fearing Muslims. The common downtrodden average citizen of this country has nothing to look forward to. They are condemned to going through the motions of life. There is nothing in the present or in the future for them. A remark that I overheard the other day was: On TV they teach us how to make chicken karahi, here we cannot even afford to buy atta (wheat flour). We boast of bumper crops but have no reserves when a crop fails. Rosy pictures and numbers paraded by our finance ministers do not cut any ice with the common man. All he is looking at is his income and expenses. In this he sees a bleak future and rightly so. The daily cost of living is skyrocketing and buying power dwindling. This is a bare fact and no amount of GDP/GNP figures is going to distort this. Bangladesh gets its share of natural disasters on a regular basis. There, politicians are in and out of office. Yet Bangladesh which is much younger with less land area and natural resources than us, has a far healthier economy today than we have. It does not require a wizard to answer how they have managed to achieve that. The answer is simple the people of that country love their country. Eight years ago, 47 percent of our population lay in the 17 to 21 year age bracket. This younger generation in search of higher education was lured into gaining higher education in IT, so all the young and able ran to become 'mouse masters, after 9/11 the glorious future of IT disappeared. Then business administration became the fad, now it is telecom and electronics. Degrees and diplomas that are being offered by the horde of educational institutions that have mushroomed all over the country. Where are the jobs for them, certainly not here? So what will they do, where will they go? What lies in store for them? Do any of our leaders have a clue? The people today are totally frustrated; denying this fact, which is staring us in the face, would be like the pigeon closing its eyes when it sees a cat. Everyone knows that business is not moving, and industry is not expanding except in a couple of sectors. Time is running out for the President and the Prime Minister. They must come up with a vision for this country and a concrete plan as to how to get there. Unchecked rise in the cost of living and constant power outages have frustrated this nation. If their problems are not rectified immediately, the prospect of a revolution cannot be ruled out. If a leader among the people is born it will spell doomsday for the current lot of people running this country. The writer is a freelance columnist.