THE state has fared pretty bad in terms of asserting its writ. The element of firmness with which a state ought to function has been missing. There is a whole bunch of issues awaiting attention from the government. Take for example the sugar crisis, the power and energy conundrum, the cement cartel, wheat shortage, the scourge of terrorism and the pervasive insecurity on account of acts of murders, thefts and abductions - all of which indicate how weak the system is getting. Admittedly, the state itself is to blame for the prevailing ills. The manner in which these issues have been written off is quite sad. It is a great shock to learn that the sugar mafia has been let off the hook to cause trouble to the general public. The millers easily blackmailed the government and even coerced it not to take any action. This was confessed by Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin who maintained that the sugar cartel had its members on the treasury and opposition benches and were too strong to be brought to book. The present situation is so bad that there is virtually no sugar available in the market. Customers are quite puzzled to see the 'no sugar posters greeting them outside the general stores. The question of why the leadership is sitting back like a passive spectator must be nagging them. While the poor masses are out on the streets boiling with rage to protest the sugar shortage, the hoarders are grinning like a Chesire cat enjoying official protection. Likewise, the cement cartel and the wheat mafia, on a spree of loot and plunder in broad daylight, have been allowed to go scot-free. Clearly, the prevailing mess also seem to suggest a crisis of governability. The man in the street has been witness to everything but good governance. The ruling dispensation has constantly been trying to sell the notion that it is fully committed and that its determination in solving peoples problems must not be doubted. Indeed, it is hard to buy the story because the main issues continue to linger. One would have wished that the ruling leadership had shown courage in confessing that notwithstanding its sincerity, it did not know how to set things right. Perhaps our politicians cannot tell deeds from actions because they are in a state of self-denial. They keep on building castles in the air. They must realise that their main obligation is to run the state in a lawful manner, for this is the main reason they were voted to power. The tendency of giving a carte blanche to the unlawful elements is something the country can ill afford.