GIVEN the backdrop to the energy crunch, it would be no overstatement to comment that the country is slipping into a very dangerous situation. For the government it would be unwise to downplay the popular anger and resentment that is making its presence felt on the streets. Scenes of disoriented crowds burning tyres and effigies of the rulers and pelting electricity offices with stones are commonplace. Let us hope that this feeling of annoyance doesnt take the form of a Tsunami demolishing everything that comes in the way. But unless the ruling dispensation, particularly the cabinet, comes up with a workable strategy quickly, it would only be inviting a lot of trouble for itself. It is very much understandable that the Musharraf regime callously ignored the power sector, making it cumbersome for the democratic government to turn the tables around. However, it ought to have taken the problem very seriously for it was after all the biggest of them all troubling the country. For people clamouring on the streets it is a dream gone sour because all they have witnessed is their government wasting time. A considerable amount of work could have been done in two years time. The present dispensation wasnt voted to power to initiate projects of incidental importance like the RPPs. Being a political government, it ought to have taken out the Kalabagh project from cold storage from day one and simultaneously launched other important ventures as well. It is a crying shame that despite the Iranian offer of exporting cheap electricity to us, the government looked the other way simply because it didnt want to offend the Americans. At this point in time, our Chinese and Turkish friends have also stepped forward and have offered electricity at cut-rate prices. While one must thank these time-tested allies for their concern, the laziness of the government would yet again turn these into non-starters. It remains to be seen whether it shows any interest in it or not. Mian Nawaz Sharif has attributed the loadshedding scourge to the governments misplaced priorities and has rightly cautioned that we keep in mind the revolution in Kyrgyzstan. Like in Karachi where people from a number of towns and colonies have been tearing up their electricity bills against excessive billing and blackouts, other parts of the country, especially Lahore, are also turning into a battleground between the electricity authorities and the frustrated consumers. Though Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf has finally woken up, all he is doing is to preach people about the virtues of patience and endurance.