Much to the chagrin of the PPP's government in the centre, which is adamant that, come what may, the superior judiciary in general and the deposed chief justice in particular cannot be restored to pre-November 3, 2007 position, the "black-coat revolution" is heading towards its logical culmination with an all-out show down planned for the next month. Given this stubbornness of the federal government coupled with its propensity to turn back on its promises, it was about time that the lawyers' community, which has, for the past two years, left no stone unturned in striving for rule of law, supremacy of constitution, and independence of judiciary in the country, played its last card and decided to hold a long march towards Islamabad, accompanied by a sit-in or dharna in the Constitution Avenue till the restoration of deposed judiciary. One prays and hopes that this long march would not be reminiscent of the previous one held in June, 2008, which turned ugly after the lawyers' leadership decided not to hold the sit-in in the Constitution Avenue. A lot of voices have thence being raised by the lawyers, civil society, students and intelligentsia about the commitment of Mr Ahsan with the lawyers' movement; some even going to the extent of asking him to renounce his affiliation with the PPP. To add fuel to the fire, Mr Ahsan's recent decision to field his own candidate for the president of the Lahore Bar Association against that of the pro-movement group has raised further doubts as to his allegiance and dedication towards the lawyers' cause. Given all these apprehensions about the steadfastness and devotion of lawyers' leadership towards the cause of the judiciary, cynics are of the opinion that the long march is doomed to fail. But the question is how far these apprehensions are true, and if at all they are, how much impact they are going to have on the planned long march? For one, no one can deny the fact that Aitzaz Ahsan has played a stupendous role in the on-going movement; it was him who brought the whole nation behind a chief justice who had been audacious enough to say 'No' to a dictator; it was him who successfully defended the deposed chief justice before the Supreme Judicial Council, and than before the full bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan; it was him who sacrificed his National Assembly seat after the legal fraternity decided to boycott the 2008 elections; it was him who drove continuously for 26 hours while the chief justice was travelling from Islamabad to Lahore to address a lawyers' convention; and it was actually him who had motivated the nation and hence given the momentum to the last long march, which was, despite the hiccups, a successful affair with over one million people thronging to Islamabad from all parts of the country. Secondly, there was never a categorical decision to hold a sit-in during the previous long march. Mr Ahsan, with whom the ultimate decision lied as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, in fact, deliberately kept it vague as to whether a sit-in would be held or not till the restoration of the judiciary. To start with, Mr Ahsan, being a seasoned and far-sighted leader, was cognisant of the fact that it would be really difficult to hold a sit-in in the scorching heat of the month of June and that too without the proper arrangements of food and shelter for the participants. Moreover, there were strong apprehensions that, given the stubbornness of the then President Musharraf, the sit-in might force the military to intervene, which no patriot Pakistani would want. These reservations and apprehensions may have prompted Mr Ahsan to announce that no sit-in would be held. But this decision would have most definitely boomeranged, as merely asking people to participate in a 30-40 hours long march and than come back without attaining the purpose would have most certainly made them less interested. Therefore, an ingenious vagueness was adopted by the lawyers in order to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses, and identify opportunities and threats, before they could go for a decisive call for a long march and a sit-in. That was the first step towards the restoration of judiciary, and second and the final step, which might also prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the present political dispensation, would be the long march and the concomitant sit-in planned for March, 2009. This time proper arrangements for food and shelter of the participants of the sit-in are being made with the help of the Islamabad, and Rawalpindi Bar associations, which are getting a lot of help from the local chapters of the PML-N, Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami. Furthermore, the military has shown its resolve to remain apolitical, and hence, in case of a prolonged sit-in, the fear of another martial law is no more there. As far as Mr Ahsan's resolve to remain with PPP is concerned, suffice is to say that Mr Ahsan has been associated with this party, which has always strived hard for the rule of law and independence of judiciary in the country, for last four or so decades; and, therefore, cannot even think of parting ways with it only due to the fact that a usurper, who has a different point of view about the whole judiciary issue, along with his cronies, has taken over it. Differences have already started creeping in as Naheed Khan, the confidant of Benazir Bhutto, and her husband Safdar Abbasi have, time and again, shown serious reservations about the leadership of Mr Zardari; Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has also started asserting himself against the dictates of the president; and above all, the jiyalaz, the life line of the party, are speaking openly against President Zardari due to his ill-advised policies, which have not only led to the present judicial turmoil, but have also brought the nation to the brink of political, economic and social destruction. Therefore, the time is not far, when PPP would be purged of treacherous and disloyal entities that have cast a bad name for it - Mr Aitzaz Ahsan does not have to leave this party. Lastly, Mr Ahsan's decision to field his own candidate - against the pro-judiciary group led by Mr Hamid Khan - in the recently held Lahore Bar Association Election has bamboozled me. I hope, Mr Ahsan, if he happens to read this article, will try to justify this act of his. But in any case, his statement on the Election Day, that the decision of fielding his own candidate will not affect the lawyers' movement, should be taken on the face value. Notwithstanding these little foibles that we may find in Mr Ahsan's personality, we must realise that this is not a time of finger-pointing and point scoring, as the nation prepares for a final confrontation with the incumbent government. It is a do-or-die situation for the whole nation, which should, forgetting the political differences it might have, support the lawyers' community in this noble cause, because it is ultimately the rank and file of the country that are going to benefit most from an independent judiciary. Once the people of this country appreciate the fact that if the judiciary is not restored now, it would never be restored, I am more than hundred percent sure that the planned long march and the sit-in would be able to achieve its purpose, despite the impediments that will most certainly be put in the way by the People's Party led government. The writer is a corporate lawyer based in Lahore E-mail: naumanqaiser@hotmail.com