PRIME Minister Gilani has claimed that the government's performance should only be assessed after the completion of their five years in office and that if they did not deliver then they would not contest the next elections. He also declared that it was premature to raise issues of the government's performance at this point in time. It seems Prime Minister Gilani is getting into the habit of making sweeping statements regarding the performance of his Government but the reality is that as governance has become almost invisible, people cannot be silenced nor can they wait for five years before assessing what the government is up to. After all, they are facing rising costs, rising crime and shortages of basic utilities and food. And the degeneration in the state of affairs over the last two years has been highly palpable. If the Gilani government was unable to deliver on anything right now, it could have at least stemmed the rot and controlled prices, made available sugar and gas and reduced load shedding. It is as if a shadowy fear is beginning to spread from the Presidency to the Prime Minister House and the Prime Minister is being compelled to make these absurd pleas. Instead, he should be trimming the fat from his cabinet and getting on with providing clean and visible governance. It seems that is the one thing no one in the present power set up is actually thinking of moving on. On the contrary, stand offs are being created between various state institutions without any foundation. Take the case of the President and the Army. The Prime Minister declared rather grandly that he will help remove the misunderstandings between these two institutions of the state. But the fact of the matter is that the so-called 'misunderstanding' is neither that nor is it something personal. The issue is more a difference over policy and should be resolved through a thorough debate involving the parliament. It is time to end this tendency on the part of the leaders to personalize issues that stem from real policy differences and conflicts. That is the only way we will get policies reflecting a national consensus and also avoid a civil-military conflict at a time when that does not exist. Never before has such an inept leadership got such support from the Opposition. Mian Nawaz Sharif has continuously been declaring that he will not allow the system to be derailed. Now he has stated that his party will not support mid term polls - although that in itself is part of a democratic dispensation. Of course he has demanded action on critical national issues, including those relating to Balochistan and its grievances. So why is the Prime Minister so fearful especially of an evaluation of his government's performance as it stands at present? Could it be because so far there has not been much of a performance at all?