The new political set-up may continue to brag about its mandate from the people, and talk tall about imminent Rule of Law and Constitutional Order in the country, but until it is able to make people feel the difference promptly, it may find itself loosing face pretty soon rather than consolidate their gains. There are a lot many things they are expected to immediately tackle, which include arresting and bringing down prices, law and order, internal and external security, overcoming water and power shortages, raising productivity and generating employment on a mass scale. But even before they began to do anything, they ought to have put their house in order, and let people know as to who was in command. One does not wish to doubt that the coalition partners must have done the spadework to forge a durable Alliance among parties with vastly varied manifestos for a minimum agenda, and one would have thought as was evident from the Bhurban Declaration that restoration of the judges was to take precedence, since it happened to be the main plank of the ruling Party's principal partner, the PML-N which had promised its electorate first thing. As of now, barring the first tangible order by the prime minister from the floor of the House in his inaugural address, for immediate release of the deposed judges, nothing substantive has happened in the first 60 days of the government, except adding to uncertainty. With the removal of barricades around the judges homes, the main eyesore, bang in front of the parade avenue leading to the parliament, the presidency and the Supreme Court, which together form the seat of the government, also ought to have been instantly removed, as also all such hurdles, barbed wires and sand bags, which are giving the Capital, the look of a war Zone or a concentration Camp. That would have made a tangible difference and sent the message across that an elected people's government had truly arrived signalling peace and security. Perhaps in my exuberance and latent desire to see the dream of democracy come true I am overlooking the fact that the barricades and barbed wires have not gone because Pakistan is still besieged under the yoke of the former military regime, which had mortgaged the country against the dollar bait clothed in imperial terrorism, as the donors continue to call the shots, severely compromising the country's sovereignty. Pakistan continues to be a State possessed, and is yet to break loose from the shackles of the neo-colonial hold. The judges issue if resolved at the very outset, would have pre-empted any further misadventure by the dwindling presidential camp, and should have been out of the way, heralding basic damage control before contemplating a constitutional package aimed at undoing the wrongs of the past 35 years, which had disfigured the constitution of a parliamentary form of governance to one which for all practical purposes, had begun to sound presidential. Besides the fact that it required extensive homework and consultation with the entire political stake-holders, it was clear that in the absence of two-thirds majority in the senate, any move in that direction at this stage would be a non-starter, and only serve to strengthen the sinking ship of the adversaries. This is what seems to be happening. Although the body language and rhetoric of the PPP co-chairman has of late been stern, as reflected in his press briefing on Saturday May 24, which was handled with poise, some doubts and ambiguity continue to surround the ruling party's conduct. Apprehensions, are evidenced by the following: "    It beats all logic that illegality can rule the country for decades, but undoing its decisions requires such legal and constitutional means, which instead of offering prompt aid for solutions, throw the country into despondency and frustration. God help the country and the constitution if that is the case. The manner in which some in the PPP bandwagon have been handling the judges issue, over-emphasising constitutional requirements, where an executive order by the prime minister, who is the elected head of government, would have been enough, one can only see the relationship between principal coalition partners getting dented besides enraging the legal fraternity; a prospect the battered opposition would be glad to see materialise. "    In order to legalise his decisions of November 3 onwards, Musharraf was required to have the same endorsed with a two-third majority by the parliament. Since that had not happened, he should have been asked by the parliament to seek constitutional cover to his acts by a certain deadline, failing which all his steps would stand annulled and rescinded. This would have automatically restored the judges, and one wonders why no one suggested this course. Knowledgeable circles have attributed the omission to tremendous external pressure brought upon Zardari. Might one ask, what then is the difference between a dictatorial regime and the one mandated by the people, to whom alone, it is supposed to be answerable. "    Any constitutional package ought to have followed the first step, and meant to be a recipe for the future. You cannot seek to condone the wrongdoings of the past, bail out the offenders and expect to make a clean beginning. Unless punished and a deterrent example made of the offenders, justice would never appear to have been done, and the rulers would continue to bail out each other on one pretext or another. "    If democracy is the best revenge, even-handed justice and rule of law are the pre-requisites to any kind of National Reconciliation. One can ignore insult and emotional injury, but one cannot condone crime. Mr Zardari has felt the heat and finally spoken, which could benefit his sagging image, provided that he proves in the coming days that what he said, was not political gamesmanship. "    Mr Zardari has lately held out the veiled threat of impeachment, claiming two-thirds majority in the joint sitting of the parliament, expecting that the general would take the hint and make way himself. But when in the same breath he talked about dialogue with everyone including Musharraf if people would so desire, it sounded to be a contradiction, because when people have conclusively spoken against the previous regime, any further reference to them is meaningless. "    If people were to speak again, mind you They would either speak in yet another election which the PPP should discount in its own interest, or else the people would God forbid speak in the streets by taking the law into their own hands if their representatives in the government failed them. The people have already demonstrated what it could mean, when disappointed with the law enforcers, they caught hold of dacoits in three different cities and set them ablaze rather than hand them over to the police. We must dread the day if the people lost faith in the entire system, and unless the government moves fast, that day may not be too far. For all one knows, the uneasy truce brokered by the US between Zardari and Musharraf through the NRO, will not last long due to its very fragile and untenable footing, as it cuts across the basic premise of equality of all citizens before law. The brave man that Zardari has been, rather than hedge behind the NRO and expose himself to blackmail and exploitation, he better face the law as he did during the eight long years of adversity and detention in which the government with all its resources, could prove nothing against him. Mr Zardari Stand up to save the aspirations of the people, your Party and the System, if you wish to be counted.