President Zardari has once again spoken of conspiracies being hatched against the government by “anti-democracy political actors and rumour mongers” in the country. He followed this mention with a staunch warning to such conspirators, that they would not succeed in their mission. The next general elections are to be held on schedule, he declared, suggesting that the government would complete its term. However, according to a news agency report, Prime Minister Gilani appeared to be contradicting the President by saying that the option of early elections was available, in case the parties in the opposition and allied to the government desired to take it. He counselled those who wanted the country to go to the polls earlier, to get in touch with him. Such an expression of differing views on a very serious subject, is the reason Mr Zardari cannot possibly blame any outside political actor of causing confusion. A painful reality of the PPP’s tenure of government has been dismal lack of coordination among those who speak for it in public.

From the main opposition party, PML-N, both its President Mian Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, however, seem set to dislodge the government as soon as possible. Mian Nawaz is mulling calling a national conference of political parties present in Parliament and outside to discuss the holding of immediate elections under an interim, independent political setup and an autonomous election commission. For this purpose, PML-N leaders have spoken to JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and are thought to be in the process of establishing contact with Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and other political parties. Chief Minister Shahbaz continues to point to the reality that financial assistance only ever comes with strings attached, which weakens the will of a country to make its own decisions. Indeed, as he points out, it is rather ludicrous for a nuclear power to go about with a begging bowl; having achieved the ultimate defence, only to face starvation. Terming the government corrupt, Mian Shahbaz wishes to rid the country of it at the earliest.

While this rhetoric repeats itself, the President is deftly manoeuvring both allies and opposition into position, in preparation of the coming Senate elections. At a meeting of Sindh PPP stalwarts held at Bilawal House in Karachi, he advised them to adopt a policy of reconciliation in a bid to ensure that the 12 Senators from Sindh are elected unopposed so that the PPP and its coalition partners are able to strengthen their positions in the Upper House. His plan would, most likely, succeed, but isn’t his summon to party Ministers and workers to solve the people’s problems coming, perhaps, a little too late in the day?