NAB on Tuesday filed an application urging the government to reopen corruption cases against PML(N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif. One doesn't really know what actually provoked NAB to take this step at such a crucial moment, especially when national reconciliation was being propagated vehemently by all and sundry. It is hard for one to rule out the possibility that the action was taken at government's behest. NAB had been wrongly used by General Musharraf to intimidate and harass his opponents and it was therefore natural see it losing its muscle in the post-February 18 scenario. It received a telling blow when the Federal Cabinet in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani on August 27 decided on its abolition. Information Minister Sherry Rehman later told media that the body had been transferred from the Executive to the Law Ministry and that soon the NAB Ordinance would be done away with. The present move by NAB however not only points to the set-up's propensity to follow in the footsteps of the former general, but it constrains one to think that the era of confrontational politics was still not over. On the other side of the tunnel, the PPP's presidential nominee Asif Zardari is harping on the same string of strengthening democracy, but how would he explain this recent attack on the Sharif brothers? Its repercussions for the country need to be analyzed, as it might pit the Punjab Government against the federal authorities in a bitter struggle for survival. It bears repeating that it was more or less the same situation back in 1993 that led to the dissolution of the government. The military oligarchy of the time, that tried to affect a settlement between the two, thankfully decided to remain in the background. Unfortunately, as recent developments in the country's politics show, we are slipping back to the politics of the 1990s, marked by vendettas and victimization. The country's leadership today would have to understand that it is political maturity the country needs the most from them and not endless bickering and mudslinging. Understandably, the U-turn by the government on the judges' issue drove a wedge between the two parties, but that was a difference over an issue and not motivated by personal considerations. At present there is a dire need on the part of the leadership to understand that by denying each other credibility, or bringing up politically motivated cases, they would only be lending strength to the offstage players. The zero sum game is in no one's benefit.