ISLAMABAD - The national political scene is getting murkier by the day. Things are moving at breathtaking speed in the seething political cauldron, leaving the people dazed and confused. Yet quite often one feels that there is a familiar pattern in the ebb and tide of events, hopes and frustrations of the people and the fate of characters on the political stage. One day comes Asif Zardari's unexpected bluster against Musharraf. This is immediately followed by his conciliatory statements backed by expression of adulation for the President by Prime Minister. On its heels series of initiatives are thrown up, apparently to upstage lawyers who are sharpening their lances, this time with a deadline of their own to launch a long march on June 10- the so-called Constitution Reforms Package, the Kalabagh bombshell and, Zardari-Nawaz meeting. The interlude is provided by an unusually long evening session between the President and COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani against the backdrop of a fiery speech by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif that time for allowing a safe exit to Musharraf has passed. Sharif joined the ex-servicemen's call for Musharraf's trial on charges of subversion of constitution and plunging the country into chaos, economic mess, and state-sponsored acts of lawlessness and even massacre. While the entire nation was gripped by tense hours of wild speculations and rumours, clarifications were issued to make it believe that it was a "routine" encounter. For the people accustomed to live in a world of lies, this was another such effort to rub salt into their eyes. But the message reached where the disclosure of this meeting was intended. Musharraf gets a widely publicized telephonic call from his mentor George Bush that is projected as a signal to the army and the political leaders to keep their hands off the beleaguered General. The US envoy stirs into action to have another of her unending sessions with the PPP co-chairman to follow up her President's conversation that on paper did not mean much except reiteration of a stated US position rather than any direct support to Musharraf. The question being asked is, where does the leader of country's biggest party stand in this macabre pantomime? For right or wrong reasons, Asif Zardari is being perceived as the major hurdle in the resolution of the judges' issue that has caused utmost stress and strain in national life. By inference he has also saved Musharraf from much of the wrath and anger of the people and diverted part of it to himself. He emits mixed and confused signals about Musharraf. At one stage he calls him illegal and unconstitutional president for whose ouster he is under immense popular pressure. Through Tariq Aziz he asks Musharraf to resign but when he gets a negative response, nothing follows except an expression of helplessness. The PPP is reluctant to adopt the most effective way of getting rid of Musharraf- the impeachment. Farooq Naek and other PPP ministers repeat the argument that the requisite two-thirds majority is not available to impeach Musharraf. While this is certainly not true, the move itself will have a lethal impact which Musharraf cannot survive. Only half the strength of membership of either house of parliament is needed to introduce the impeachment resolution while two-thirds majority is required for its passage in the joint session and not in individual house. What will be the immediate implication of mere tabling of the impeachment resolution? Musharraf will be put in the dock and made to face litany of serious charge ranging from twice subversion of constitution, appropriating all powers of the president and the prime minister and even beyond without lawful authority; ordering illegal acts ranging from murder of people like Bugti; the May 12 massacre in Karachi and a series of similar such deadly incidents; military operations in Kargil, Balochistan, Swat, Lal Masjid, etc., squandering national wealth on an imperial personal lifestyle etc. etc. No doubt Musharraf once told a foreign journalist that he would step down the moment an impeachment motion is tabled against him. On judges' issue, Ms Zardari has put the debate on its head and made retention of PCO judges as the primary issue rather than the restoration of deposed judges. For him the question of scuttling the lawyers' movement and diverting public attention from the judges' issue seems to be of far greater priority than a serious effort to resolve it. In this gamble he has not only put his own credibility at stake but the future of the great party that destiny has handed him over. He has surrounded himself with sycophants and failed to evolve a collective leadership within the party that could provide him sound advice and guidance. The mess he has created and the confusion in which he treads, have compelled most of his admirers to doubt his ability to handle the complex issues confronting the country. Zardari's dilemma, and probably misfortune for no fault of his own, is that quirk of circumstances have pushed him to step into the shoes of his charismatic spouse. He is no match to her intellect, experience, political acumen and grasp of national and international political and diplomatic intricacies. Yet destiny has thrown him into the centre stage of national politics for a role he is hardly able to play.