HAD the galloping inflation not deadened the people's sense of humour, they would have found the Prime Minister's remark that the food crisis was over quite amusing and, perhaps, given out a hearty laugh. As it is harassed, by the perpetual worry of their shrinking purchasing power, they would treat it as a cruel joke. Even if the food items were now available in the market, they have gone virtually out of their reach; the poor have to make do with whatever they could afford. Every day the morning papers give them some fresh shock in the shape of higher rates of either lentils or vegetables or wheat. The flourmill owners, the transporters or the CNG station owners would have some threatening message for them. Then there are reports that the prices of consumer goods at the utility stores, established by the government for providing essential items at concessional rates, have levelled up with the market, if they are available at all. The quality has also suffered a marked decline. Similarly, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani's declaration that the government has taken steps to regulate the prices of petroleum products and contain the loadshedding would inspire little confidence. No one will take his word that relief in these sectors was on the way. Recall the disappointment the masses experienced when the much touted 'relief measures' the governing party leaders promised at the time of assuming power turned out to be pie in the sky. One would wish our leaders took note of the facts on the ground before staking any claim; more than a week after official announcements gave varying figures of increase in the prices of CNG, the consumer remains at the mercy of the outlet for whatever it chooses to charge. And the power shutdowns are becoming lengthier.