WITH the appointment of 34 parliamentary secretaries in accordance with the formula jointly worked out by coalition partners in Punjab, the next move has to be the expansion of the provincial cabinet. In case the exercise is completed with the same friendly spirit, it would remove at least one longstanding source of irritation between the PPP and PML-N. That the meeting between President Zardari and CM Shahbaz Sharif has created a modicum of bonhomie in Punjab could be witnessed from the statements of Raja Riaz and Rana Sanaullah, affirming that the Punjab government faces no danger. Governor Salman Taseer too has of late avoided treading on PML-N's toes. Similarly Mian Nawaz Sharif has said he wants the PPP government to complete its five-year term. To ensure that there is no disruption in the system and federal and provincial governments complete their tenure, there is a dire need for the PPP and PML-N to cooperate. But other contentious issues could keep the pot boiling, providing an opportunity to powers who are opposed to democracy to upset the apple cart as has been done several times before. The PML-N stands for the restoration of the judiciary as it existed before November 3. It is sitting on the opposition benches in the Parliament while ruling Punjab in coalition with the PPP. It has thus to do tightrope walking. It maintains it is acting as a responsible opposition, which is something unusual for Pakistan where the opposition parties have in the past gone to all sorts of extremes to overthrow governments. The critics of the PML-N however maintain that it sometimes overreacts to prove its credentials as a genuine opposition particularly when subjected to taunts of being no more than a loyal opposition by parties like the Q League. What is more some of its hawkish leaders tend to lose sense of balance while criticising the government. The party is trying to perform a balancing act on the issue of the long march. As it supports the cause, it has decided to join the lawyers protest but would not participate in the sit in. The Punjab PML-N President has declared that the provincial government will not allow any funds to be diverted to facilitate the march. The prospective retirement of CJ Abdul Hameed Dogar provides the government an opportunity to reach a compromise with the lawyers and political parties who want to restore the judiciary. Mr Farooq Naik's statement, rejecting outright the restoration of judges, is likely to add to PML-N's difficulties. There are many who think that the government should revise its position to put an end to this strife and the ensuing uncertainty.