The two high-profile broad daylight target killings - first of the Governor Punjab shot at close range by his elite force security guard, and more recently that of the Minister for Minorities ambushed by a group of assassins outside his mothers private residence - have drawn intense public reaction of anger and dismay. It has also exposed the efficacy, loyalty and futility of the countless gun-totting security personnel trained at considerable expense. It also establishes the point that their superiors are disconnected with the mental state of their own team. The Minister for Religious Affairs has survived an attempt on his life with minor injuries. All the three incidents occurred in the capital city of Islamabad. Frequent militant suicide attacks at crowded spots and government security installations; politically motivated or gang warfare; kidnapping for ransom and target killings in Karachi and elsewhere; and kidnappings and murders by insurgents in Balochistan have become parts of our routine lives. The media flashes the 'Breaking News and the political parties scramble to get political mileage. The Interior Minister delivers his oft-repeated eloquent statements of cause and effect that are devoid of any substance and could convince only the most gullible. He conveniently passes the buck to someone or the other like inadequate equipment, the Punjabi Taliban or the cabinet division. The only thing he does not do is to have the grace to accept responsibility. The victims and their ill-fated families are forgotten and the incidents are buried merely as statistical data. This is how we have come to value human life. Unfortunately, this trait of apathy is widespread in all upper echelons of the government circles that seem to be occupied in everything under the sun except governance. Urgent economic reforms are casually delayed or reversed to appease the coalition partners in order to keep the fragile government intact, despite the disastrous consequences to the financial health of the country. No reviews are conducted as to why major policy decisions were taken prematurely without prior consultations and achieving a consensus of all the stakeholders, carrying out adequate homework, assessment of capabilities and evaluating the public reaction. Or, why the government did not show its commitment to go through with the proposals once launched - the inability to implement indeed is an admission of the inability to govern. Camouflaging it as the 'beauty of democracy does not extend the moral right to hold on to power. To add insult to injury, no responsibilities are fixed for the fiasco. No heads roll and business carries on as usual. The present politics has become a circus of comedy of errors where consistency of words and deeds carry little virtue. Governance is treated as no more than a non-serious game being played with no stakes in which the welfare of the common citizens does not figure. One day, damning accusations of conspiracies, murders and corruption are hurled by responsible people in authority against friends or foes. A few days later, the same people become merry bedfellows, as if it was just a joke. All political parties with a presence in Parliament seem to have an unwritten understanding to cover each other from meaningful accountability, as long as their own share in the pie is undisturbed and the status quo lingers on up to not a day earlier than the full five years. The rulers have thus neatly carved a win-win situation for themselves. It is the people of this land that are condemned to the perpetual lose-lose fate. The judiciary and the armed forces have emerged as the only credible and serious institutions in the present set-up. They are trying to prop up the system by inserting some checks and balances and to prevent a possible freefall or collapse. The superior courts are buoyed by the new found independence from the shackles of the executive. The Supreme Court is taking suo moto notices of the irregularities of government functionaries reported in the press or in public petitions. It has also censored certain legislations (put together behind closed doors by select committees and approved by the compliant Parliament with hurricane speed without much debate or going to the people) that it considers to be in contravention of the spirit of the Constitution or against public interest. Likewise, the army has been quietly complementing the civilian government in fighting the militants and stabilising the democratic process in the country. So far, no conflict with the government has surfaced. The judiciary has earned the confidence of the people by its transparency and bold decision made in larger public interest; while the army and its COAS have refrained from direct involvement in politics that has restored their prestige domestically. They have also earned the respect and professional recognition of the American Pentagon and its field commanders in Afghanistan for their role in combating militancy. It is the misfortune of this nation that important issues like public welfare, national security, foreign affairs, economy, corruption, law and order and insurgencies that have a direct impact on the lives of the common citizens merit low priority on the democratic governments list. Instead, it remains occupied in unprincipled politics and mutual recriminations that are turning uglier by the day. It has locked horns with the superior judiciary by defying certain court rulings in administrative matters like appointments and promotions that bear no significance to the average persons life and are perceived by the majority as attempts to protect the influential and the corrupt. The politicians have lacked the skills to tame and improve the fast deteriorating competence level of the civilian administration that is riddled with financial corruption and inefficiency or to develop a vision and set the direction where they wish to lead the nation. The weaknesses and poor governance of the government have allowed space to these two institutions to monitor the governments performance and to step into the domain of the executive, albeit reluctantly. The patience of the people is fast running out. The judiciary and the army have managed to maintain the balancing act. They are merely the arms of the government, but they are being forced to become the custodians. Some are talking of a bloody revolution, little realising what it entails. Some, in their desperation, are redefining the roles of the judiciary and the army by including them into the process of governance. Why is no one talking about withdrawing support for malpractices, shady deals and incompetent government? Why is no one forcing the rulers to improve governance or get out? n The writer is an engineer and an entrepreneur. Email: