AT a time of an acute economic slump, even a small cut in the allocation of funds for development projects would raise questions about the wisdom of such a policy. But when the reduction is as drastic as 45 percent, it becomes simply unforgivable since that would sink all hope of revival of the economy any time soon. It is quite obvious that the execution of government-financed development projects would lead to the creation of jobs for different categories of professionals and the labour force; give the much-needed push to a wide range of dormant local industries required to provide goods and services to handle these projects; and, as a consequence, would restore the confidence of the business community, inducing it to come forward and make investments. If the government was so short of finances - and there is no doubt about it -commonsense demanded that it looked to other areas of expenditure for effecting savings rather than this vital area. The Prime Minister, who revealed the proposed cut to a delegation, which met him at Islamabad on Tuesday, has a large retinue of ministers, officials with federal minister status, parliamentary secretaries, etc., in tow. One should have thought that the size of the cabinet would come in for a radical review. Apart from the fact that reduction in the cabinet size would help ease the situation, there is a lot of scope for slashing non-development expenditure. On top of the extreme folly of slashing down the development expenditure, it is painful to hear Mr Gilani say that the funds, thus spared, are required for use in prosecuting the American-imposed, wrongly-named war on terror. While committing the nation to joining this suicidal venture was, undoubtedly, a grave blunder of the Musharraf regime, the present government seems to have even gone further. It has taken on its own people to please Washington that is proved by the plaudits and gratitude it has been receiving from it. In the process, it has lost a lot and gained nothing. By abandoning the traditional mode of sorting out differences with tribesmen through consultation and negotiation, and resorting, instead, to military means, it has created a hostile environment in the most sensitive region that had never been witnessed before. The economy suffered a deadly setback and, according to an estimate released several months ago, lost as much as $35 billion; the much talked about compensation, as we have observed lately, comes in dribs and drabs, laced with preconditions. The only way to get out of the mess is to call off our cooperation with the US without further delay.