IT is difficult to understand how the Prime Minister intends implementing the current financial years social sector development projects, as originally conceived by the government and without curtailing their scope, when the amount allocated for the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) has been drastically reduced. For the year 2009-2010, an amount of Rs 421 billion had been set aside for the purpose, but, according to Mr Gilani, the heavy expense on the war on terror compelled the authorities to divert resources to that contingency, and, as a result, the concerned agencies had proposed a slashing of Rs 170 billion out of the PSDP, leaving a balance of Rs 250 billion only. However, with the PMs intervention, the remaining allocation was kept at Rs 300 billion. But even then there remains a huge gap of Rs 121 billion between the original and amended allocations, and considering the phenomenal hike in the prices of goods and services that has taken place since the budget was put forward, even the original amount would have been insufficient to put the projects through to completion. There is no possibility anyway for the curtailed amount to complete the job. Mr Gilani would have done well to explain why his government was continuing to prosecute a war that the US not only sponsored, but also created the conditions for Pakistan to participate in it. Our continued participation has become all the more questionable in the light of the Americans delaying the reimbursement of the agreed war cost deliberately, on one pretext or the other. The improvement that is supposed to come about, as the aid under the controversial Kerry-Lugar Act starts flowing in stands undone with the withholding of war compensation funds. And a still more compelling reason for ending our alliance is the serious harm the war on terror has done to the countrys social fabric. Our visionless leaders have been led to involve themselves ever deeper in a war that is against our own people, giving rise to almost civil war conditions. Under these circumstances, there is little time to lose. Apart from breaking our association with the war on terror and reaching an understanding with the disaffected groups, the government needs to adopt a strict programme of austerity, cutting down expenses wherever possible. As security concerns will diminish, the economy will pick up and the arrangements made for the safety of the ruling leadership would no longer be required. The federal and provincial cabinets, with a large number of advisors and officials must also be cut to size, and the practice of lavishly wasting official money stopped. These measures would spare funds that would be enough to meet the shortfall of Rs 121 billion to carry out the planned social sector projects.