Beginning with the lawyers' movement and developments that followed on March 9, 2007, there is a sea change in the mind of the common man. Having forced Musharraf to retire from the army, return of the exiled leaders and a not so rigged general election, the average citizen has come out of a psycho-emotional limbo. Voting progressive parties in, democratic forces feel stronger. If now there is someone, who believes that the common man, taken for granted for 60 years, is going to remain complacent over the backbreaking inflation, especially the staple food prices, and shortages, he needs to have his head examined. There is anger in the people against the outgoing regime and the excessively opulent class of people enriched by their pro-rich economic policies. Shaukat Aziz, the "con man" responsible for all this, quietly disappeared before the crunch came. Talk to anybody in the street, the bus stop, the railway station, and he will tell you that this person needs to be tried and punished with Musharraf. The people are angry because it has become well nigh impossible to manage a household budget. Where is the prosperity that Musharraf and Shaukat harped on for eight long years? When the rich were becoming richer and the poor were getting poorer, these two persons were globe trotting and misleading the world into a make believe picture of Pakistan? If now people are clamouring for their trial, it is not without reason. Inflationary pressure, shortages, income inequalities, and years of misrule have brought people's hatred for the ruling classes to a boiling point now because it is difficult to keep body and soul together for the ever widening poorer sections of society. Similar factors acted as catalysts in the French Revolution of the late 18th century. Liberty, equality, fraternity were slogans that changed the fate of France as well as the thought of the world. Similar factors catalysed the Russian Revolution in 1917. Corruption of the state apparatus, graft and absence of access to justice has always added to unrest in society. All this sounds familiar in today's Pakistan although Pakistan is not France or Russia. And that is the trouble. Between the army takeovers and a failed political class, the people have been groaning under the burden of subsistence from one era to another. The history of this country consists of misrule of the army followed by self-seeking politicians. But no more. The mood of the people has changed. No one can predict the results of the national Long March the lawyers are concluding this Friday (June 13) in Islamabad. But one thing is certain: the common people, no more voiceless (thanks to the brave lawyers of this country), are going to join this march and demand to be heard. We know Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz followed flawed economic policies against all sane advice and brought us to the edge of the pit. But now one is gone and the other one is about to go. The new coalition government is fast running out of time. Public memory is short. Disgusted by the coalition's dithering over the judges' issue, people are already beginning to blame the current government for the plethora of social, economic and political problems. Unfortunately, the "visuals" of the government have not changed. Like the outgoing Q League, they move in big cars, wear designer glasses and keep personal beauticians. This lifestyle is not going well with the people whose poverty it seems to mock. Like the Q League, they are beginning to sound hollow. Take the power crisis for example. Given a short fall of about 4000 megawatts of electricity, the minister for water and power started on the right foot when he presented a bleak but realistic picture of the situation. He then elaborated on plans to deal with the crisis. One immediate measure was to appeal to the people to save electricity. Raja Parvaiz Ashraf asked the trader community to cooperate with the government and shut their shops on Friday (a working day) instead of Sunday (a holiday) to save electricity and close their shops by 9 pm anyway. The people have refused because they believe that it will affect their already falling sale. Emphasising uniformity of power load shedding in a televised press conference, the minister claimed that his house was not an exception. This is nonsense. In Islamabad, power outage, or load shedding, is selective by the sector, certain areas immune to its application. In places it is selective by the street, depending on where the VIPs and their close relatives live. This being the case, traders and poor people eking out a living in the street will only become angrier at having to go without electricity from at least six hours in the cities to 22 hours in some rural areas, driving people around the bend: power riots continue. These are angry times; how they will play out is unpredictable. One scenario could be an assault on the VIP homes, a red rag to the bull. If that happens, we should understand.