The calls for change emanating not only from the opposition and a large section of the population, but also, more stridently, from an ally, had created the expectation that the top ruling leadership at the Centre that met at the Presidency on Friday would perhaps decide to at least remove controversial figures from the Cabinet to calm some of the concerns of critics. Quashing these hopes, the meeting put up a stout defence of the present set-up. A resolution reposing confidence in President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani was passed. Mr Zardari was reported to have counselled the 40-odd participants, consisting of Ministers, Ministers of State and Advisors, to stand firm and united and aggressively rebut the negative propaganda against the government. There is no room for any undemocratic venture against the PPP government. No one could dare dislodge the PPP government, he claimed. But the President should know that the undemocratic venture has been advocated by the MQM, which is part of the governing coalition under the PPP; while all other political parties in the country would defend democracy, and the public, if called upon to express its opinion, would be no exception. Their cry only is against the present set-ups lack of responsiveness to basic needs and demands of the public and national interests that casts a shadow over its democratic credentials. The two-and-a-half-years record of the PPP-led government makes a questionable reading from the point of view of its claim of regenerating the roots of democracy that had stood withered owing to frequent military interventions in the political system of Pakistan. One had expected the present government to extricate the country out of its suicidal participation in the so-called war on terror that Musharraf had led us into. Instead, its acquiescence to US commands has, if anything, become more demeaning, with the result that a sense of insecurity now haunts every nook and cranny of the country. The prices all-around have shown an unconscionable hike, affecting the budgets of all and sundry and depriving a vast majority of the public of their every day needs. An essential input of economy - availability of sufficient power supply - has become mere wishful thinking, upsetting industry, agriculture, in fact, life across the board. The government has made a mockery of the concept of democracy by launching an open defiance of judicial verdicts, with even Cabinet Ministers deriding them, whether these verdicts pertained to the unsustainable NRO or the official patronage extended to the corrupt. Corruption has flourished amid reports that high-ups are indulging in it without let or hindrance. If the government still had any credibility to boast of, it was swept away by the floods. Instead of making haste to come to the help of flood-ravaged people, rescuing them, lodging and rehabilitating them, it put up an indifferent, cool response. It is a change of attitude and character of governance that the people and the whole world demand.