There is story about a man and his wife who lived in a village. The couples worldly possessions consisted of a small two roomed mud house and a cow. They earned an honest living by making butter, which they sold to a man running a grocery and bakery business in the nearby town. One day, the baker decided to weigh the pats of butter and discovered that they were short in weight. He accused the butter seller of being a cheat and not fit to do business with. Sir, the poor man softly said, I cannot afford to buy weight measures for my old scales, so I put one kilogram of flour that I buy from you and use it as a measure to weigh my pats of butter. The story set me thinking of how the Pakistani nation in its headlong lemming-like race to the precipice has steeped itself in corruption, dishonesty and nepotism. This country was made by men of integrity led by a giant whose strength of character was legendary. He once ordered that one of his closest relatives not be allowed to enter the Governors House in Karachi because the man had got his relationship with the Founding Father printed on his calling card. In this mayhem and rot, two institutions stand out as beacons of hope setting examples of dedication and adherence to the principles set up by our founding father. These are the 'higher judiciary and our 'armed forces. It is said that the judiciary speaks to the people through its judgments. It is also the guardian and the interpreter of the constitution and in that role becomes its protector by implication. The Armed Forces of Pakistan are sworn to protect the country from external and internal threats while remaining subservient to the constitution. In effect therefore, the judge and the soldier have a converging role to play, albeit from different perspectives. Pakistans checkered political history has been plagued by a politicised superior judicial system and frequent interventions in the democratic process by the army. Recent events have however proved that the two institutions have successfully undergone a process of self-healing. The superior judiciary has emerged as the nations hope and the army is committed to the policy of assuming its correct constitutional role. While the apex courts in the provinces and the Supreme Court have effectively embarked upon cleansing the corrupt and cancerous system, the Pakistan army has re-earned the respect and pride of the nation. This respect and pride has not been earned lightly, but through sacrifices, selfless devotion to duty and unimaginable courage. This is also a very vulnerable time for both institutions as the external and internal enemies of Pakistan will now do everything within their resources to neutralise and weaken these institutions from within. This will be attempted through a subversion of commitment and character and the skilful use of the 'seven deadly sins. It will be now be up to the leadership of these beacons of hope to further strengthen their institutional defences, identify such attempts and deal with them without rancour or remorse. The writer is a freelance columnist.