With the ruling coalition in the country having splintered apart and left in a helpless minority, political players across the board have become hyperactive, engaging themselves in wheeling-dealing. There has been a flurry of contacts. On the one hand, the government is working hard to persuade the various parties to come to its aid, and in return it would be ready to dispense favours to their candidates by allocating suitable Ministries to them. Maulana Fazlur Rehman has proposed the name of Senator Raza Rabbani for premiership, indicating his willingness, perhaps, to get back on board. On the other, the opposition parties are equally busy holding meetings and exchanging telephone calls among one another to reach some sort of an understanding about how to deal with the present situation. As things stand, there is not much chance of the governments survival, unless it is able to woo the JUI-F and the MQM back into the fold or win over others to secure the support of at least 172 votes in the National Assembly. But then in order to bring it down, there is a condition precedent. As the decisive role rests with the PML-N, which, with its 91 seats in National Assembly, holds the trump card, the parties arrayed against the government would have to take the PML-N along. Even if a no-confidence motion is brought before the house, it cannot succeed without its backing. For if, somehow, the party were to side with the PPP, the combined strength of 218 (127+91) of only these two parties would be enough to give the ruling set-up a comfortable majority in a house of 342. Another big player in the field is the PML-Q, with over 50 seats, and as the government currently enjoys the support of 158 members, including ANP and other smaller parties, the PML-Q can turn the table over the plan to topple the government. The opposition has, thus, to play its cards well. This is the time when Mian Nawaz Sharif has the chance to conclusively negate the charge of heading a party that is playing the role of a friendly opposition. It has no doubt stated that it would not bail out the government, but at the same time it has, in the past, been rather vague when it failed to differentiate between the system that it wanted to save, and the present government that it wanted not to displace for that reason. If the PML-N dithers at this juncture, it would confirm the fears of its critics that all its rhetoric about the rising prices, rampant corruption, inefficiency, and lavish spending in the face of increasing indebtedness is just hot air. The epithet of a friendly opposition would stick, and bring it an abiding shame. And if it had post-Musharraf accommodated the PML-Q in its ranks or later positively responded to the call for reuniting all factions of the Muslim League, it would have been able to boot out the corrupt government and had a chance to govern.