IT is a tragic irony that the PPP, the party in power, which boasts of being the guardian of the interests of the masses, has to face accusations of not only massive corruption and lavish living, but also of criminal nonchalance about the loss of resources that could help the exchequer grow - and all that at the cost of the people it pretends to be serving. While corruption and wastefulness have been the talk of the town for so long, yesterdays TheNation carried a story of the government letting the US and NATO forces, operating in Afghanistan, continue to avail the exemption of tax, amounting to Rs 30 per litre of petrol, that was granted to them by Musharraf in 2002. The upshot of this relaxation is that the poor motorist in Pakistan has to pay as much as Rs 73 for a litre of petrol and the rest of the commuting public has to bear abnormally high fares. Not only that. The inflationary spiral - the rise in the prices of petroleum products having a snowball effect on the costs of goods and services across the board - becomes uncontrollable. The poor masses of a country, which stands drained of its resources by the war being fought on devious logic, and mismanagement, groan under the growing weight of living. On the other hand, the taxpayers of developed and prosperous countries get big exemption of taxes, the amount that could have been used to improve the living standards of those very masses of a deprived country. That the former dictator unconscionably threw in Pakistans lot with the US, bringing us to the sorry state we are in, is beyond question. But once he had been booted out of power and a democratic government, and that too led by a 'pro-people party, had been installed, agreements concluded by him, ought to have been reviewed and suitable amendments negotiated to ensure that all clauses inimical to the national interest are deleted. Not to talk of the various other instances of cavalierly spending official funds by government functionaries, if we only add the leakage of toll tax revenues to the loss through exemption on the petrol price to the US and NATO forces, it becomes a sizeable chunk of money. The toll tax leakage, reported in the press, is an astounding 40 percent of the total present collection. While it falls on the government to exercise stringent checks on expenditure, it is the obligation of other political parties in the field to point a finger at those officials and institutions that are found to be deviating from this principle so that they can be taken to task. Only in this way would it possible to retrieve the economic ground Pakistan has lost.