DURING the debate in the National Assembly on the 2010-11 budget, it naturally drew criticism from the opposition, but a true danger sign for the government was the criticism meted out by a member of one of the PPPs coalition partners. Before the unrest spreads to the ranks of the PPP itself, the government must take the necessary steps to rectify the budget. The MQM member Imrana Saeed criticised the budget for not solving the problems of the poor masses. Her reference to the coming of the Value Added Tax (VAT) should indicate to the government where it should anticipate a backbench revolt, as the governments lack of support for this anti-national tax, which threatens a fresh round of inflation as well as the death knell of commerce and industry should be clear and obvious to its foreign supporters, and thus they too should stop insisting on this tax, and should seek some other means of achieving their goals. Meanwhile, the PML(Q), through Tahira Aurangzeb, also called for the construction of more dams, particularly the Kalabagh Dam. Obviously, the issue, already raised, was not going to go away just because some members tried to make a parochial issue out of it. Her call for its construction should not be dismissed by the government as mere opposition carping, but should be treated as the voice of the people. The government should realise that not constructing it during the current energy crisis is to ignore all the logic of the situation. As Ms Aurangzeb said, those opposing the dam would also face the shortages. As time passes, the arguments of dam opponents will be outweighed by the huge disadvantages of not constructing it. Already, had the dam been completed, the country would not have faced such a dire situation as the present, and opponents are thus responsible for the losses incurred because we do not have the dam. The government must not be doctrinaire about any of the positions on the issues it might have taken, and listen carefully to the voices of the people, expressed through their representatives.