On August 18, 2018 Imran Khan was sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan. It was an end of an era, as the Zia inflicted dark ages are finally over. The establishment launched political agents are now either rotting in jails or facing National Accountability (NAB) references. Loot and plunder of the nations’ resources is finally behind us. It is recovery time.As a nation we have wasted forty important years (1977 to 2017) to political turmoil and conflict. While Benazir Bhutto’s heroic struggle against Zia’s misrule will be long remembered, Nawaz Sharif’s courage to try the fourth usurper under Article-6 of the constitution will also go down in history as an act of bravery. By including this article in the 1973 constitution, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was convinced that the country would never come under martial law again. Unfortunately, he was proven wrong twice (1977, 1999). Finally, the trial of Pervez Musharraf has blocked this adventurism for all times to come. Pakistan was always destined to be a constitutional democracy.Martial laws have hurt us bad. Our journey to real freedom has been disrupted not once but four times by colonial forces of status-quo. A lot has been written and said about the Ayub’s golden era. As a country we have not recovered from the derailment it has caused. Till October 1958, Pakistan was debt free, now it is mired in loans. Corruption has been targeted by every martial law, but it spiralled after every takeover, with Zia’s misrule being the deadliest.In search of political legitimacy our dictators failed to deliver,it is for the first time that an elected government is seeking across the board accountability. Repeated disruptions in the democratic process have been disastrous. Student unions were banned, and labour unions crushed during the Zia regime resulting in large vacuum. In the absence of political awareness, the younger generation is ill-informed about their rights and the ablest usually leave for greener gestures. In order to harness future leadership, Student Unions should be restored in all colleges and universities.Regular elections should be held to harness future politicians. Only the Jamaat-e-Islami supported Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba (IJT) remains on campuses to spread mischief while the progressives are in disarray.In search of political legitimacy our dictators failed to deliver, it is for the first time that an elected government is seeking across the board accountabilityAfter the breakup of Quaid’s Pakistan in 1971, security became the top priority. The elected government of ZAB decided to build the atomic bomb at all costs. The entire programme was given special audit free privileges. Now that we have the device, the focus has to shift to nation building activities like education, health and clean drinking water without which our future will be bleak.After the elections in 1988 it was expected that Zia era would come to an end with the return of the democratic government of Benazir Bhutto, but it did not. The establishment conspired to launch Nawaz Sharif and his team to control and weaken civilian authority. During his three stints in power,Mian sahib has ensured complete collapse of civilian institutions. In the major cities even, public records have been destroyed to take control of expensive public properties. New terms like ‘china cutting’ have come to the fire. Land grabbing by developers has proceeded unhindered. Major land development companies are now in serious trouble. Every time the PM comes to his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, the affectees come there to demonstrate against the land mafias to secure their investments.Welfare of the people is the top priority of the present government. A state close to Riyasat-e-Medina is being emulated. The anti-democratic forces are in retreat. The vision of the founding fathers is being re-enacted. Corruption is contained at the top. The trickle down is now awaited. The PM has appealed for increasing tax revenues. At the same time the state expenses have to be cut down to create a balance between revenue and expenditure. As a nation we must learn to live within our means. This approach of spend now and pay later must stop.In the last forty years massive urbanisation has taken place in the country. Development has been restricted to a few cities only which have now become mega metropolis. Rural development has to be taken seriously to boost agriculture which is the backbone of our economy.Agri-based industries have to be established for self-sufficiency in this vital sector of growth.Both the former PM and chief minister Punjab are unwell and do not have faith in the local health facilities. This grave situation is of their own making as both health and education sectors have been ignored in their regimes. Water management has also been very poor. Even clean drinking water has become scarce. All kind of water borne diseases are on the rise. Hardly any recycling takes place. Ground water table is dropping at a very fast rate which remains unchecked.On August 14, 1947, Pakistan started off well. Most individuals at the helm were both able and honest. By and large merit prevailed. Despite odds and myriad of problems, the first ‘Asian Tiger’ was in the making. The slide started with the assassination of the first PM. Now that a popularly elected leader is at the helm, hope is alive again. We were unable to entire the ranks of ‘tigers’ then, now we have an opportunity to become the first democratic welfare state of Asia. Just for the record we did achieve the following firsts. First Asian country to have a high-tension physics lab, first to go into space, first to produce silicon from local sand, first to produce ball point pens. In 1995 we had five world championships in sports (Cricket, Hockey, Squash, Snooker, Yachting) today we have none.Under the leadership of Kaptaan this era of loot, plunder, gloom and doom is about to end, a new dawn is in sight in Pakistan. The vultures of accountability are now hovering over the carcasses of the corrupt. Naya Pakistan is within sight. As the first-born free generation of the country, we have kept the dream alive to at least hand over the same Pakistan to our children that we opened our eyes in.The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science FoundationPublished in Daily Times, March 23rd 2019.