The TV channels are stating today that there is a shortfall of 4500 megawatts of power in the country. This represents a required investment of $4.5 billion. We should examine the much trumpeted achievements for the last eight years by our Citiwhiz Aziz and Salman Shah who were in charge of the finances of the country during this period. We have witnessed power riots in Multan already, with threats of more to come. This has not taken into consideration the losses incurred by the manufacturing sector, nor our exports - both vital to us for employment and for earning foreign exchange. Exports and employment are the two pillars of any government's wellbeing. Totally ignored by our fiscal managers In fact while these two gentlemen were crowing about the quantum leaps in the telecommunication sector of mobile phones, we can take time to examine the cost of mobile phones to the nation. The expansion has been dramatic and the total subscribers stand at 76.88 million as of Dec 2007. A remarkable achievement no doubt, showing marketing skills and advertising success that would be the envy of Madison Avenue. But if one calculates the cost per instrument @ $100, the total outlay is $7.6 billion. Almost double the investment required to have averted the shortfall in the power sector. (This does not include a replacement factor of 25%, a hefty $2 billion annually.) While the network coverage over the country has brought us out of the third world and into the modern age of telecommunications, but the euphoria was short-lived, as sitting in the dark during a power outage, I was roundly cussing the KESC for their lack of planning etc on my mobile phone when - that's right - my phone battery ran out. This is typical of Pakistan, for if all is confusion around you and you have just that one safety net, you can bet that it will be yanked away just when you need it most. That is what one loves about this country, planned shortfalls. We may be sitting on a bumper harvest happily exporting a million tons of wheat, when, slam, flour queues, and bread riots. It appears a section officer in the Ministry of Agriculture misread the crop figures, by 5% a cool one million tons, enough to trigger the food riots, that should have brought the government down, but our leaders are made of sturdier stuff, and once in power they will finish their term The mismanagement in Pakistan has been taken to its extreme. Not even the rocket scientists of NASA nor the consultants at IBM produce the exquisite timing of the problems that arise in Pakistan when everything is going seemingly well. We are being repeatedly told that Sindh has the largest coal reserves in the world - enough to power us for the next five hundred years, and yet that little man in the capital keeps shuffling the coal file while floating more tenders for millions of tons of oil to be imported on cash, to add to the already bursting coffers of the oil companies. The planned incompetence on display is the result of years of bureaucratic training, and simple tasks like a water fountain suddenly appear Herculean, and beyond the reach of Pakistanis. It is in this backdrop that we must appreciate the genius of Dr Qadeer. He not only fathered the bomb but also tested it successfully. The genius lay in doing so in Pakistan, in spite of the little man in the capital who suddenly makes everything go wrong. We Pakistanis are conditioned to accepting failure, as part of a natural consequence tied to our destiny. This has become part of our karma, and has seen the huge sales of 'good karma bracelets'. These bracelets do not seem to work in Pakistan, for our own little man in Islamabad sees to that. The little man has seen dictators, civilian and military. Elected Prime Ministers, nominated Prime Ministers. Pirs, a woman too, who though she laid down her life while trying to catch her dream - one more time, died to the adoring cheers of a crowd that worshipped her. That little man continues on and he will strike when we least expect it. That is part of being a Pakistani, bearing what we must, for to change is not possible, the little man is part of our being and cannot be exorcised; he is us.