That the government is seriously out of joint is not disputed other than by those in government. That the government of the party of the people, or at least those in it who are on the receiving line of correct information, can ill afford to tell the people the whole truth, or even an adulterated form of the truth, is also not disputed. That the government prefers to ignore what is happening in its own backyard, a few hundred miles from where it pretends to operate, in places such as Swat, Bajaur and Momand, and the entire FATA area is a fact. This presumably is because its members have no idea of how to tackle the problem or perhaps simply because they do not care as they are too busy taking the country for a ride and bolstering up their assets in the process. And besides, there is always the 'arrangement' reached with the mighty sole superpower over drone attacks, about which the government can do nothing but whimper. The US is too occupied with FATA to bother about Swat, a lost and forgotten cause. One factor relating to all this which has never been broached is the funding and the provision of arms to the Taliban and other fighters. From where does the money emanate? How do the arms get to them? All that being all that, how is 'civil society' reacting to the problems up north, where the vale of Swat is reportedly lost to the Taliban forces (apart from some 36 square km out of Swat's 5,337 square km in which the government writ still holds). Then we have the entire FATA region, also reportedly under Taliban sway. Figures given in the press have it that just under one million citizens of Pakistan up north have been forced to flee from their homes. Again reportedly, thousands are being killed, either by the Taliban or as a result of collateral damage due to the battles raging between 15,000 men of the Pakistan army pitted against some 10,000 Tehrik-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan holy warriors. Executions Taliban-style are rife with bodies being found each day slung over poles or trees. The legal fraternity is too busy readying itself for another 'long march' which may prove ultimately - as far as the national interest goes - to be as futile as the previous forays and is as unconcerned as is the government about conditions up north. The larger mass of the awam are too busy keeping their lives going, and the press warbles on with the rare commentator trying to make a point and encourage realisation. The outpourings on the TV channels are non-productive, glorifying religious extremists as being the last bastion against a rampaging USA. The anger, hatred and divisiveness embraced by the actors, both anchors and guests (including government representatives who should rightly be banned as they do untold damage) make a mockery of the media. Then we have colleges and art galleries in Karachi, seemingly typical of current thinking, who in total disregard of what is happening in their own country are busy organising seminars and fund-raisers for the Palestinians. How about the Swatis and others? Amidst all the murder and mayhem, with the entire NWFP ravelled in fear and turmoil, politicking takes a ridiculous turn when purely out of expediency the president of the Republic takes it upon himself to appoint a minister of tourism, the JUI brother of Maulana Fazlur Rahman. With the entire world shunning Pakistan, what is the man supposed to do other than gather in his monetary perks and a string of privileges? Of late, the much touted sovereignty of Pakistan has not only been undermined on the Afghan border areas but down south in the deserts. Brethren from the Gulf areas have been slavishly welcomed and seen off by the topmost after having depleted whatever wildlife is left to us and after having broken all sorts of environmental laws. And so, with the help of cognomen, court jesters, selected mercenaries and amateur propagandists, the president's brand of democracy continues happily to take its revenge upon the nation of Pakistan, his cohorts making merry with the people like a swarm of mosquitoes in a nudist colony. As for our propagandists, on the same day when the gentle Governor of the Punjab was announcing in Lahore that the next chief minister of his province will probably be from the 'Q' League junior Chaudhry of Gujrat, the minister of information was telling the media in Islamabad that there were no plans to get rid of the present Punjab government. The members of the party of the people obviously do not converse with each other, the two power centres of president's house and prime minister's house being at odds with each other, the Bhutto supporters quietly being displaced by the Zardari in-crowd. It is sad to observe talent going to waste. The minister of information should not allow herself to undergo a process of attempted metamorphosis into a latter day Josephina Goebbels. She should also be wary of a flood of publicity. Seldom does a day go by without her being on every TV news channel and without the publication of a statement plus photograph in the pliant press. This seldom pays and often catches up with one. Those who reach the top of the greasy pole forget that what goes up must come down and that all things, good or bad, come to an end. But she deserves better than a discredited ministry. The writer is a freelance columnist Email: arfc@cyber.com.pk