If a house is on fire, the first thing one does is to do the fire fighting rather than asking an interior decorator to go to work at it. Pakistan, without restoration of the 1973 constitution, is like a house on fire. Our politicos, though, are unconcerned about the alarming state of the state being with out its basic law and discussing all other issues under the sun but this. That is akin to white washing a house caught in flames. I have recently noticed a mysterious surge in temperatures in the debate on local bodies, accountability, provincial autonomy, the Musharraf trial, NRO, drone attacks, US marines in the capital and a host of other issues. These can wait until after restoration of the fundamental law of Pakistan in its original spirit. I am not denying the importance of these issues. My concern is directed at our misplaced priorities and the wrong timing of addressing each of these problems. Personally, I shall call for immediate action on all these and other pending issues only after the basic structure of the state has been restored. I call upon the authors of long articles and anchormen of hysteric TV talk shows to join hands to set our house in order to restore the balance of our state on an even keel as was ensured in the social contract of 1973. Any further detour of our national priorities would be suicidal. -B.A. MALIK, Islamabad, via e-mail, August 26.