THERE are signs, though not so definite, that the PML-N might be seriously thinking of shedding its image of a friendly opposition, most likely, in preparation for mid-term elections. The 18th Amendment has, after all, excised the 'two-term clause from the Constitution that had restricted an aspirant to hold the office of Prime Minster or Chief Minister only twice, and both Mian Nawaz Sharif and his younger sibling Mian Shahbaz Sharif are now free to occupy the chief executives office at the centre or in the province any number of times they could manage to secure parliamentary support. Thus, one finds Mian Nawaz Sharif coming out with a sharp criticism of federal government policies almost every day. To win wide public sympathy, he recounts a tale of peoples suffering that they have to bear as a result. Similarly, the other day, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan (PML-N), put the government on the mat, on the floor of the House, for a host of ills that have become part of our socio-political culture, thanks to the corrupt ways of the ruling classes. Indeed, the inflationary momentum has been kept up by a periodic increase of the lethal dose of fuel prices and utility charges by the government, sending shock waves all around with the inevitable hike in the costs of goods and services. No doubt, it falls on an active opposition not to let such an opportunity slip by, and take the government to task. But before the passage of the Amendment, the PML-N has been soft-pedalling the matter, with the public left to feel that their problems were no longer of any concern to it. Thus, the widespread perception that the party was a 'friendly opposition. It began losing public support, though now the party leaders seem to be stirring. Speaking at the partys organisational meeting held at Lahore on Wednesday, Mian Nawaz Sharif threatened to lead a long march, on the lines taken out during the judicial crisis, in case the central government failed to solve the common mans problems. He was confident of large public participation. He also bemoaned that corruption scandals were bringing a bad name to democracy. That, of course, is a matter of deep concern to all those who have striven hard to bring Musharrafs dictatorial regime to an end. Already frustrated at the crooked ways of the ousted dictator, their hope of a cleaner political set-up under the new democratic dispensation received a severe jolt, as the Zardari-led government followed the same course even more diligently. The nation is now looking for a saviour