THE PPP-led government, despite being in power for a year and a half, is dragging its feet on the Balochistan conflict. Rather than taking practical steps, it has mastered the art of rhetoric. The statement by Prime Minister Gilani that the crisis in Balochistan was the biggest issue the country faces only reinforces this perception. In reality, his government has done little to address it. The resentment in the province seems to indicate that the Baloch have little to hope for. The powder keg during the rule of General Musharraf now threatens a wider conflagration. It transpires that promises and apologies tendered by the PPP top brass were political proclamations aimed at freezing the clock on the issue. Even apart from the incidence of poverty and socio-economic backwardness, the government has not yet taken steps that could first help it gain the confidence of the disgruntled section of the people there. The call for provincial autonomy; due share of the province's natural resources and the trial of General Musharraf for the unlawful killing of Akbar Bugti have fallen on deaf ears. The PPP set-up must realise that inordinate delay over the issue will jeopardise the well being of the federation. It is living in a fool's paradise if it thinks that the issue could be wished away merely by speeches and statements.