Prime Minister Gilani came out fighting in the Assembly on Tuesday, hitting out at the PML-N - in fact challenging them to a showdown in local government elections. He was resolute that there would be no midterm elections and there was no chance of any military coup either. Then, probably getting carried away by his own rhetoric, he declared that those who were calling for midterm elections were disrespectful to the flood survivors. His harangue may have been good for his morale but it did little to ease the troubles of the population at large, which is being dealt blow after blow to its existence in terms of spiralling prices and food shortages. From fuel to gas to sugar, it is either being priced out of the reach of the common citizen or is simply not available in terms of shortages. As for the whole issue of midterm elections, these are very much a part of the democratic process and if the major opposition party sees this as the only way to resolve the present crisis of governance, then there is no harm in moving to seek for such an action. All around there is chaos and instability alongside rising corruption and nepotism. The government has been unable to prevent the continuing violations of its borders by NATO just as it cannot get a national grip on its economy. Instead, it continues to be dictated to by the IMF with all the repercussions that have followed on the country. Now we have been told that the US is going to place special auditors in all the government departments to ensure that the aid that comes will be used properly. So what independence of decision-making and hence of governance will be left for the Pakistani state and its rulers? Yet Mr Gilani refused to address these vital issues just as he has failed to address the issue of spiralling prices and the rising indirect taxation that is crushing the ordinary citizens under its growing burden. It is merely for a lack of a competent and inspiring leadership that people are not on the streets protesting. Similarly, Mr Gilani refused to take up the issue of his party hoodlums threatening senior party parliamentarians. Slowly but surely the Prime Minister is letting the country slip towards anarchy with the rule of law all but abandoned. It is no wonder that the coalition allies of the government are all uneasy with the ruling party and are also falling apart with each other. With no effective governance, this is bound to happen and if the trend continues then the Prime Minister may well have no option but to give in to the demand for midterm polls. There are simply too many anomalies being created in the present system where, despite the 18th Amendment the President is still calling the shots in terms of exercising executive power even though the PM should have effectively been in charge of executive decision-making in real terms. Clearly, the ruling party and the PM, for all his fighting words, have yet to get their act in order and govern effectively.