LAHORE   -  Upon completion of first month of PML-N in government, the common man is up against added financial burden, energy crisis and a sense of insecurity which obviously deny the claims this party made of providing the masses with immediate relief and laying the foundation for a prosperous Pakistan within a 100-day period after coming to power. At the same time, the government has also confronted many challenges which made the month difficult for it as well as the people. Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister on June 7 while a 25-minister federal cabinet was formed the following day. Of these 25 ministers, two were drawn from PML-Q’s cabinet of the Musharraf era that vitiated PML-N resolve against accepting the Musharraf cronies. These inductions exposed the new government to severe criticism from political rivals which became harsher when another close associate of Musharraf was made part of the government. In Punjab and Sindh the same old governors continue in the office. Generally looking at one-month performance of the government, one finds more unrest, public agitation on unscheduled power loadshedding, and a deluge of price hike. The month was quite eventful on account of terrorist activities, judicial matters, discussion on the role of state agencies and a rocky stock market as a result of all that, as well as dollar’s value exceeding a hundred rupee. Pakistan’s ailing economy amid all this got the centre-stage of the government concern. Terrorist attacks, which were put around 13 last month, really gave a big jolt to the government while it remained unable to stop attacks from US drones despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resolve not to allow the same on Pakistani soil. Two drone attacks took lives of 24 persons on which the Foreign Office registered a calculated protest with US officials but it drew a blank. Hours-long unscheduled loadshedding remained a hallmark of the last month, and a major concern for the government. Protest demonstrations were held in Lahore, Faisalabad, Khushab and other parts, but no improvement in the energy situation came about. It merits mentioning that loadshedding during the PPP government was strongly protested by the last government of Shahbaz Sharif, who, in that course, even set up a tent office at Minar-e-Pakistan causing a great embarrassment to the outgoing ruling party. However, the incumbent government is continuing work on a number of long and short term projects to offset power shortfall. Instead of repeating the protest history, this time round Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif defended PML-N-led Centre and justified this problem on Rs512billion circular debts and inefficiency of the past government. The deep crisis of electricity also made Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif reluctant to subscribe to the PML-N view towards completely ending crisis in three years. Tariff rates for all consumers have been enhanced to over Rs2.25 per unit while more bombshell of costly electricity are about to drop on the public as the government has agreed to the IMF condition to lift over Rs140billion subsidy on electricity to get $5.25billion loans to bolster the economy facing default on payment. Against the shattered economic conditions, the preparation of national budget was taken as a challenge. In order to raise tax collections, the budget increased GST from 16 to 17 per cent which increased prices of everything with immediate effect. The Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the situation and struck down the increased GST as unconstitutional for it was enforced even before signing of financial bill by the president. But the finance minister refused to recall the increase which has resulted in price hike of kitchen and other items of daily use. Also, petroleum prices were jacked up while tax on the prepaid cell phone cards was increased up to 41 per cent. The minister set up hefty target of about Rs2500billion tax collection but failed to spell out any policy to end corruption in Federal Board of Revenue and the public department. Terrorist hits on university students in Quetta and under treatment students in Bolan Medical Complex, Ziarat Residency of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on the Hazara community, suicide attack in a Peshawar mosque, terrorist attack on the convoy of a high court judge in Karachi, and martyrdom of security persons in North Waziristan were the major incidents of last month. Nationalist leader Mahmood Khan Achekzai, while speaking to the National Assembly, raised fingers at the role of agencies in Balochistan and his words found favour with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who, in the first instance, posed following a strict action but later softened his stance. The silence of the prime minister and absence of a policy on the Quetta carnage surprised many a countrymen. The premier however later visited Quetta where he chaired a law and order meeting expressing commitment to eliminate terrorism with an iron hand.Targeted-killings in Karachi surged last month and Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan warned PPP-led government in Sindh to set the situation right within a month. This warning was not taken in good taste by certain quarters, and some others took it as government intention to clamp governor’s rule. Another eminent feature of the month was government’s announcement to try former military ruler Musharraf for high treason for the November 3, 2007 PCO which had occasioned deposition and incarceration of over 60 superior court judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Though it is in the UK yet MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq’s murder case, which took new and serious turn toward month-end is going to necessary involve the government to track down the killers. Since lead of the murder is going to a big gun of MQM, the government will undergo another test to control the situation at home and maintain peace. Hence side by side solacing the masses and living up to the commitment of their welfare, the PML-N has faced unprecedented challenges just in first month. The odds facing the common man are genuine but it does not mean PML-N government duped the people to win the poll and now has given up the efforts. The foreign debts of over $60billion, circular debts of Rs512billion, (of which over Rs300 billion have cleared), economic meltdown, foreign reserves only at $6billion, highly serious energy crisis, drone attacks, terrorism, bomb blasts, foreign pressure etc, are some main problems which stand opening their jaws against the government.In this background five-day visit of the prime minister to China is a big hope to address the principal problems of energy, infrastructural development, joint economic ventures and expanding trade. In order to work out a national policy on terrorism and foreign relations, the government has convened a conference of all political parties and stake holders on July 12. On invitation of the prime minister, UK Prime Minister David Cameron held two-day visit to Pakistan which went a long way to bring Pakistan ahead in the settlement of Afghan issue and peace in the region besides, cementing ties and improving trade between the two states. The government wants to renew friendship with India as a matter of concentrating the economic well being for which it has embarked on back door diplomacy to sort out all outstanding issues including Kashmir, and Siachen.