HOW much the government is capable of running the basic day-to-day affairs of the state efficiently can be seen from the way its resolve and resourcefulness have surrendered before the scourge of the energy crunch. Both urban and rural areas are in the grip of severe blackouts and life, whether one is at home or at work, has become difficult, not to mention unbearable. And its effects are strong enough to provoke the people into a deep frenzy. Only yesterday, people in Muzaffarabad vented their anger and clashed with the police when it tried to baton charge the protesting crowd. The alarming thing is that such protests against the electricity authorities are becoming a routine, and the situation is quite pregnant with ominous signs for the future. Meanwhile, the government, with Raja Pervez Ashraf at the helm of the energy sector, is in a state of denial. The past two years have been wasted because of his promises and assurances that the crisis would be taken care of easily and in time. Unfortunately, his assurance given to the National Assembly that power supply would improve within the next few days, is part of his strategy of downplaying the problem. It is a pity that no serious steps like the installation of IPPs, or import of electricity, or the construction of large reservoirs have been taken. Iran is ready to supply power to us at reasonable rates, and its import can, no doubt, ease the pressure; our cold response to the offer under US pressure is simply unacceptable. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbazs statement that the PPPs preoccupation with toppling the PML-Ns set-up in the province sapped all its energies and time that could have been diverted towards tackling the power crisis is an apt criticism of the federal governments performance so far. It must see the popular anger and frustration that is only getting intensified with the hour. Import of electricity from Iran and the construction of big reservoirs should be the top priority.