THE situation on the energy sector has simply gone from bad to worse. Power outages of up to 10 hours and exorbitantly high charges have broken the back of the people. Praise be to Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf Contrary to the image he projects of himself as a trouble-shooter of the scourge of loadshedding, he is only capable of making hyperbolic utterances. Now with December (his deadline for an end to loadshedding) fast approaching, he has thought it better to give yet another date: June 2010. Not surprisingly, he has come up with a lame excuse. While talking to journalists in Karachi and exuding confidence, he said that the real cause why the deadline could not be met is the barrage of criticism heaped on the governments decision to launch Rental Power Projects. Consequently, the projects have been delayed he maintains. The question here is: why did Mr Pervez in his capacity as a Federal Minister slow down the completion of projects, if he knew that they could have salvaged the countrys energy power sector? Would he do things the right way or prefer to play to the gallery? Even apart from his failure to set things right in the short term, his vision of meeting the challenges in the long term seems quite jaundiced. Instead of realizing the need for having large reservoirs, his statement a few months back in which he bluntly refused to start work on the Kalabagh dam and cited the lack of consensus among the provinces, was a source of frustration for all those who knew the promise the project holds. Little does he realise that as a chosen representative of the people his job requires him to find solutions to such problems rather than brushing them under the carpet. The Musharraf regime, which did not add a single unit of energy to the national grid, cannot escape its share of the blame. But is it not a sad day for democracy when the elected representatives act in the same way?