PPP Co-Chairman Mr Asif Zardari's endorsement of PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif's announcement regarding the reinstatement of the deposed judges on May 12 comes amidst the Pakistan Bar Council's refusal to recognize those appointed under the PCO as lawful judges. It was good to hear from Mr Zardari that there was complete agreement between the two major coalition partners on all issues, including the restoration of the judiciary. Meanwhile, the committee formed to draft a resolution for the judges' reinstatement failed to evolve a consensus in its first meeting and will now meet again today. Law Minister Farooq Naek's observation that the talks progressed positively notwithstanding, the PPP's insistence on retaining the PCO judges remains a sticking point. This also drew a cautious comment from Mian Nawaz in his brief chat with journalists at London's Heathrow Airport when he reached there Saturday afternoon on a weeklong private visit to Britain. Reaffirming his commitment to the Bhurban Declaration, he said he still had his reservations about the members of the judiciary who took oath under the PCO but had accepted the PPP's demand to retain them for the sake of the deposed judges. After holding two rounds of crucial talks with Mr Zardari in Dubai, Mian Nawaz seems to have realized that in order to hold the ruling coalition together, issues on which there is conflict have to be resolved through give and take. Inflexibility from either side will only be of advantage to those who are busy hatching conspiracies to derail democracy. Differences between the PPP and the PML-N leaderships over the judges' issue have already reactivated the political forces aligned with the Presidency. A news report indicated that General Musharraf was busy holding consultations with his legal advisers who were in contact with the PPP leadership to prepare a mutually agreed constitutional package. There are also indications of attempts being made to change the PML-Q leadership so that it may become acceptable for the PPP to negotiate with it. The PPP leadership has been disinclined to do so as long as it is run by the Chaudhrys of Gujrat. The ruling coalition has to exercise caution while dealing with conflicting issues, especially when the establishment is trying to throw a spanner in the works. Mian Nawaz was right when he said that the current democratic dispensation required no NOC from anyone for reinstating the deposed judges. But then he should focus on salvaging the situation by doing his best to save the coalition from falling apart. Brinkmanship will prove disastrous for democracy. At the same time, Mr Zardari should also keep in mind that any dithering about his commitment on the judges' reinstatement would damage him politically.