The universally acclaimed definition of democracy by Abraham Lincoln - "a government of the people, by the people, for the people" needs to be rephrased for our system by substituting establishment in place of people that would probably describe the democracy as practised in our country more appropriately. The governments in the early years and those with a claim of being democratic and installed through an electoral process, in between army rules, have all been as subservient to the establishment, comprising the civil and army bureaucracy with its numerous off shoots, as the military aided dictatorships. This omni-present hardcore element defines and imposes its version of national interest at the time and determines what is good for the people of Pakistan. The public opinion is generally treated with disdain and ignored with contempt. The people have welcomed each new government with new hopes and trust in the promises made. These are dashed soon enough as the new decisions and governance are focused on the macro economy promoting big business, issues of security and foreign affairs, self-preservation and participating in international conferences rubbing shoulders with men and women that matter. There is no time left to attend to the "petty" day to day problems and welfare of the common citizens that constitute the bulk of our population that needs and deserves most attention. The frustration of the people is made an excuse to install another government that yields the same results yet again. The political dynasties of a handful of pliant families from the four provinces with a few occasional additions are used as front people in the various systems of government that have been experimented at the cost of the nation from time to time, some under the guise of democracy and others under the undiluted absolute rule of a military man. The constant power broker has been the establishment ever since Major General Iskandar Mirza was elevated as the President of Pakistan in 1956. The army has since been the epicentre in all regimes either upfront by installing a chief of army staff as president as witnessed during nearly two-thirds of our 61 years history or by pulling the strings from behind the scenes. These political dynasties and their associates consider remaining in politics as their business that guarantees their hold on their monopolies and to wield influence that are the essential ingredients to reap the windfalls and spoils in all kind of money making deals. Both the establishment and the politicians have prospered as comrades in arms and remained largely unscathed over the years by practising the principle of scratching each other's backs. The indifference to the plight of the common people has relegated one-third of our population to living below poverty line. As the food inflation hovers in excess of 32 percent and general inflation at 21 percent, more and more people will be added to the category of the poorest of the poor. Two-third of our people are illiterate with little access to education, health, clean drinking water or basic amenities. The country has remained backward as the abundant human resource has not been evenly developed to make a productive contribution to the national economy and social structure. Our economy and territory was pledged to the Americans and the West in the early period of our inception by converting the ideological state of Pakistan into a security state. We were enrolled in the defence pacts of SEATO and CENTO as a strategic region due to our geographic location and used as a pawn in the chess game of Cold War against the communist block. Later, our tribal people and forces were used to defeat and expel the Soviets from Afghanistan. Since 2000 we find ourselves once again in the middle of a mercenary war fighting those very forces that were our allies and protgs two decades earlier. The easy financial and material western sponsored aids have become our crutches that have deprived us from cultivating any initiative for self-reliance, framing and following a foreign policy that suits our national interests in the region independent of the American pressures, living within our means or to develop our own technological and innovation skills necessary for progress and to compete with other nations. The international financial institutions and the American State Department have taken the pound of our flesh in return for these loans under the misnomer of aid, by monitoring and dictating the economic and foreign policies of each successive government. The short-lived civilian governments of Z A Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto that showed signs of exercising some independence from the American policies were dismissed and the leaders were severely punished by hanging or exile. President General Ziaul Haq was blown up in a plane along with many American officials when he became undesirable. The relationship of all our governments, particularly of the military rulers, has remained unequal both with the American benefactors and the people of Pakistan. The armament and financial needs of the military have become paramount since the exaggerated concept of Pakistan being a security state surrounded by hostile nations out to destroy or capture our country has been kept alive. As these needs are met by the Americans, no government has been able to defy their call of unquestioned obedience. The majority of our people is basically proud and conservative and considers such American dictates as an invasion into their independence and at variance with the Muslim cultural and religious beliefs. This paradox of the governments following the Americans and the people despising them has created a wide gulf of mistrust between the government and the people. The anti-American sentiment has led to disturbances, suicide attacks and insurgencies in the tribal region that have now reached the settled areas. The blind following of the West and rapid shift from idealism to materialism has gradually confused and robbed our nation of its cultural heritage, family values and traditions and has created emptiness in the social structure while the better elements of the Western practices and values have not been adopted and nationalism has eroded. The periodic inflows of easy money disbursed by the Americans in return for services rendered were usurped by those in power instead of consuming it on the general welfare of the people at the grassroot level. The rich have become even richer and the poor have remained poor due to lack of opportunities as skills, education and jobs are out of reach for most. The eight year rule of President Musharraf can be termed as an utter failure on the single account that he abandoned his seven point agenda presented to the nation and squandered his tremendous goodwill and absolute authority by falling in the trap of the illusionary notion of becoming a legitimate and popular ruler that he could never be. Though he managed the assemblies to complete their full five-year terms, hold two reasonably free and fair elections and installed democratic governments, he has no other claim to his credit and may have to answer for many wrongs. His popularity rating has dropped to 14 percent and his position as president remains controversial and an enigma. He must understand that he has lost the chance of being another Franco, Suharto or Castro and the best he can do now for himself and the nation is to find an honourable exit soon. The problems facing the nation today are multi-dimensional and grotesque that demands national unity and consensus at all levels and rising above individual self-interest. After Ayub and Yahya Khan, the PNA failure to arrive at a political compromise in 1977 brought General Ziaul Haq to power that flooded the country with drugs, arms and religious extremism, changed the social landscape of the country for the worse and forever and hanged a popular leader. General Musharraf sent into exile the two most popular political leaders of the country and during his reign one of them was brutally assassinated. The public has given another chance to our leaders to guide the destiny of the nation to the glorious heights it deserves and is capable of achieving. Many elements are lurking in the shadows to exploit the situation if they remain busy in infighting for personal power and fail to deliver. The writing on the wall is clear. Why are we not reading it? The writer is an engineer and an entrepreneur