PRIME Minister Gilani, who talked to journalists, while on a visit to Lahore, touched on virtually every major issue facing the country but came up with nothing to write home about. It was the same old story: the NRO was tabled in Parliament at the instance of the Supreme Court but withdrawn on the advice of the various political parties; there was no question of winning or losing in the context of the NRO, rather it was part of the politics of reconciliation; the issue of the 17th Amendment would be resolved in accordance with the Charter of Democracy; democracy was the best antidote to terrorism and extremism; the government believed in the independence of the media; the Balochistan package would be announced soon; and so on. No one became wiser The reality is that since the truth about these important public concerns is bitter, it lies behind these banal observations. Each one of these issues hang fire owing either to the governments sheer inability to comprehend what constitutes the best possible solution under the circumstances, compelling it to follow the policy of drift, or unwillingness to come to grips with them for political reasons. However, the ruling leadership must be feeling more uneasy as the time passes. The spectre of the NRO rising before judicial eyes after some time must be quite galling. With MPs in their overwhelmingly majority in favour of rescinding the 17th Amendment, all that is needed is to present a constitutional amendment to that effect in Parliament. One has heard too often that the extremist bent of mind would change to an understanding acceptance of difference of opinion under a democratic system. But democracy does not consist in merely holding elections and choosing a set of people to rule. It assumes a government that is sensitive to the public need about livelihood, health, education and well being in general. What we have in Pakistan is a leadership unconcerned about all that and anxious only to watch its own interests. The mantra about an independent media continues side by side with efforts to put it in chains. Even the explosive issue of grievances of the people of Balochistan lies unattended, left to the mercy of committees whose reports are never acted upon. It is difficult to fathom the motives behind this harmful dilatoriness and find words to condemn the attitude. In the meantime, as the sense of deprivation gets more widespread in the province, and its reaction in the form of violence becomes a daily occurrence, it seems there is not much time left before the things totally go out of hand.