There is a serious disconnect between the government of expatriate Asif Zardari and the reality on the ground in the Republic he managed to wheedle into installing him as its head of state. He and his 64 ministers - at least those that utter in public - have divorced themselves from the truth. They are obviously oblivious to what we out here glean from the national and international media about what is actually happening in FATA and more importantly in Swat which is less that 300 kilometres away from where they lounge around in their plush drawing rooms. The level of disconnect is highly alarming. Even as our information minister was optimistically assuring the public that schools would reopen in Swat on March 1, they were being blown up at random. The point is, will there be any schools left to reopen by that date, either girl's schools or boy's schools which are also the target of bombers? The Taliban just don't want schools, period. Schools do not fit in with their brand of ideology which they are fast establishing. The NWFP chief minister in total disconnect informed attendees at a local function on January 20 that "in a few days" the nation "will hear good news" about the Swat situation. Just what has happened in the ten days that have elapsed? Countless schools have disappeared from the face of the valley, there has been death and destruction all round. The government has lost complete control of the district. Its last bastion is the main town of Mingora outside of which it has no presence. And even inside Mingora, the Taliban have managed to sneak in. The town's central square, the 'green chowk' has been renamed 'slaughter chowk' as the Taliban routinely dump bodies there and even conduct public executions. Despite the reported deployment of four brigades of regular army and Frontier Corps troops in Swat, the Taliban have overwhelmed the government. Security forces are confined to their camps and are routinely attacked by roadside bombs and suicide bombers when patrolling. According to Senator Ilyas Bilour the Taliban control 90 percent of the valley. Army Chief General Ashfaq Kiyani managed to briefly land somewhere in the remaining 10 percent last week and adding to the disconnect "vowed" to restore the government's writ in the lost vale. The National Assembly, in between its social activities, did briefly "condemn the grave violation of human rights through terrorist acts in Swat for the last two years," and then forgot about it and the FATA insurgencies. Not only in Swat are schools the target of the Taliban. They are being blown up in the Bajaur Agency and for all we know in many other areas. Education is not on the agenda of the Taliban and other militant organisations. In a column in the Washington Post on December 28, ably written for him, Asif Ali Zardari stated somewhat startlingly that "Over the past several months, remarkable progress has been made in our battle against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda." But he then went on to admit that "we are unable to fully execute battle plans, we urge the United States to give us necessary resources - upgrading our equipment and providing the newest technology - so that we can fight the terrorists proactively on our terms, not reactively on their terms." Could this be a tacit admission that the army has not been making use of its resources in the best possible manner? In line with the current trend, the army chief has talked of 'no amount of sacrifice'. What type of sacrifice does he have in mind? We have far too much talk of 'sacrifice' from everyone connected with government, opposition and administration. We do not need sacrifices, we need solid commitment and hard work, not dead or moribund bodies. We have more than enough shaheeds, we cannot progress on the backs of the dead. It is time that the living legislators get on with life and governance, and concentrate on the present and the country and not on the past. To govern and to deliver would be more to the point, and to get on with the business of ridding the country of the scourge of terrorism and obscurantism that is stalking it. The babble of ministers are too busy travelling the world, doing their own 'thing', some following in the footsteps of Kermit the Frog, others building snowmen in Switzerland, rather than doing Pakistan's 'thing' and sorting out the social and economic mess. Afterthought: From an e-mailer come questions. How come the president could so casually spend Rs 24.9 million on taking 188 of his chums and cronies to perform Umra? What sort of people are these who waste his money on an Umra invalid in Islam? The writer is a freelance columnist E-mail: