Pakistan since its creation has been faced with multiple crises but none as serious or as debilitating as the present one. Terrorism and increasing cases of terror and indiscriminate bomb blasts have created a deep sense of uncertainty amongst the citizens. The army action against the militants and extremists in the tribal belt in NWFP has resulted in hundreds of casualties and displacement of millions causing widespread misery and destruction. The energy crisis has affected everyone. Long and frequent power outages in the hot and sweltering summer are testing the patience of the public. The economy is in the doldrums. Due to the power shortages, the industries are working 1/4 of their capacity. A large number of labourers have been laid off further increasing the number of jobless resulting in the poverty graph going up. There has been a wave of ferocious public protests across the country resulting in clashes with police and damages to public and private property. The breakdown of law and order and rampant corruption is taking a heavy toll on the public faith in government institutions. The public patience is running out. The gulf between the rulers and ruled is widening amid dire warnings of increased miseries with IMF conditionalties forcing the government to withdraw the subsidies on fuel and food making it harder for the majority to eke out their meagre existence. Bitterness, outrage and hatred have overwhelmed the man on the street. The instances of self-immolation and selling of children for want of sources to feed them are on the increase. The sense of depression and desolation is all pervasive and palpable. The government during the last 16 months of its existence has failed to address any of these issues and has lost its credibility and trust at home. The economic meltdown exposed how weak and unreliable the leadership is. No Muslim country came to its rescue and Pakistan had to suffer the humiliation of conditionalties-laden loans to survive - a pathetic slight for the only Muslim nuclear power. To accommodate political cronies, new ministries have been created providing sinecure jobs. Pakistan is the only country having elevated small departments like postal services and textiles to federal ministry level. Besides in-charge ministers, these ministries have junior ministers and parliamentary secretaries, not to speak of bloated bureaucracies in 46 divisions serving them. The institutions of the president and prime minister deemed to be symbol of unity and integrity appear to be as unmindful of public miseries and the need for austerity as their predecessors. Pakistan is constitutionally a parliamentary democracy and hence accountable to the electorate. In fact both Parliament and Executive are equally callous to public needs and the current crisis. The reckless expenditure in the face of growing poverty and anarchy by the leaders claiming to be public representative has justifiably depressed the people. In an opinion poll conducted in December 2008, 67 percent believed democracy has made no difference in their well being and 59 percent believed that the next year will be worse than the current year. People's growing lack of confidence in the system and failure of their leaders to solve their problems have added to the complexity and intensity of the existing issues of corrupt and dysfunctional institutions and poor governance. Also the government despite repeated announcements has failed to tackle burning political issues such as unrest in Balochistan nor has it yet convened meetings of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) and National Financial Commission (NFC) which could have defused the current water controversy between Punjab and Sindh. Power shortages again are an issue that can be settled if tackled on war-footing basis. It is estimated that 25 percent of the electricity is wasted in transmission and theft by unscrupulous elements. Unless public unrest is gauged in time and corrective measures taken the rulers would be in for a rude shock. The growing frustration reflected in the mass protest at power outages across the country and clashes with the police are a point in the direction making confrontation between street power and state power inevitable. The government must read the writing on the wall. Pakistan abroad is being referred to be the one having an existential problem. The CIA and CRS have predicted in their reports to the US law-makers that by 2015: "Pakistan will be more fractious, isolated and dependent on international financial assistance. It will not recover from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive politics, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction." Interalia, it further noted: "Further domestic decline would benefit Islamic political activists and the central government's control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and economic hub of Karachi." The prestigious Foreign Policy Magazine in an index of failed states has placed Pakistan at the bottom of the 10 failed states. Once the largest Islamic state in the world and pride of the Ummah as the only Muslim nuclear power in the world is today placed lower even to Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Afghanistan, and Iran among others. How low can we fall? The writer is a former ambassador