The top leaders of PPP and PML (N) returned from Dubai the other day without much to reassure the ordinary Pakistani, let alone the real stakeholders like legal fraternity and other political forces. After failure to meet the 30-day deadline, promised in the Murree Declaration, now Nawaz Sharif has given another deadline of May 12 on his own. A committee consisting of experts has been constituted by the two coalition partners to look into how the judges could be restored within the ambit of the constitution. The committee could reach an agreement even before the new date of the resolution and could also take even longer. One never knows that there could be many unforeseen developments taking place and new situations cropping up every day, dragging on the issue even beyond the May 12 deadline. What will be the reaction of Nawaz Sharif in case deadline is not met again? In that case it will be a major blow for Nawaz, showing how nave he is in politics. Will there then be the parting of ways with PPP, closing one of the brightest chapters in the politics of Pakistan in which two main political parties joined hands to form government in a bid to defeat dictatorship. That will be pretty heart breaking for the general public and lovers of democracy. The issue again is not that much complex that it should take so long for its resolution, testing the nerves of coalition partners as well as the people across the country. The people are generally fed up and want to move forward after settling these political issues. In some political circles, it is believed that one of the coalition partners is not sincere in implementing the accord finalised by the two leading political parties. Hence, the issue continues to linger on. Such elements believe that if both sides are sincere then the issue is not that much complicated that the judges cannot be reinstated. They say where there is a will there is a way. The PPP leader Asif Zardari more recently tried to distance himself the judges' issue, saying the people did not give him mandate for the judges' restoration. He is trying only to help out Nawaz Sharif, he added in his more cavalier style. Is Zardari then playing games with Nawaz or is he having brighter ideas. Question also arises whether by distancing himself from the issue of judges is he serious in maintaining the alliance with PML (N). Everybody knows the sensitivity of PML (N) vis--vis judges' issue. We also have reports that Presidency is considering to change the top leadership of PML (Q) on the insistence of Asif Zardari. The idea is this that PML (Q)-minus Chaudhrys could fill the void left by PML (N) to bolster PPP government. Any such arrangement will cost PPP dearly and will be suicidal for the political forces. Again, every bit and clause of NRO is being implemented religiously. Even the constitutional package being devised in the Presidency and the one looked after by Minister Naek provide for greater reconciliation that reaches out to President Musharraf also. Even before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto she used to talk of constitutional arrangement whereby parliament should be empowered, and imbalance in the powers of President and Prime Minister be corrected. Now we see these ideas close to becoming reality. There are also stakeholders who consider that judges cannot be restored with magic wand. A constitutional method is required to achieve this end, they argue. Hence, their linkage of judges' issue with a constitutional package. The vibes coming from the PPP circles suggest that reinstatement of judges though at the top of their agenda is not as simple as it appeared, especially when military, US government and Presidency are not on board. On their end, brinkmanship could rock the boat. We learnt now that a bigger constitutional package is being prepared to address the judges' issue. This package provides for greater reconciliation and President Musharraf seems to be on board. The President is also ready to part with his powers to dissolve assemblies, appoint governors, if he is not touched for sometime until he himself exits gracefully. If this is the end game then it sounds good for democracy and political institutions and for stability in the country. It is to be seen how PPP while maintaining its alliance with PML (N) co-exist with Musharraf, though not for a longer period of time, it seems. It will work wonder if Nawaz stays on course. The way PPP leader departed from Dubai, beaming with smiles and relieved, it appeared that Nawaz Sharif is also on board. For that the PPP will be required to honour the deadline given by Nawaz Sharif. It is also relevant to understand that from the very start the PPP has been calling for greater reconciliation among the political forces, even with Musharraf if need be. Settling scores or resorting to victimisation this time does not seem to be the PPP's cup of tea. E-mail: