The Bench-Bar row that had threatened to do irreparable damage to relations between the two, at a time when their unity was most needed to let a forceful, independent judiciary take root, has at last come to an end, though, it seems, temporarily. It is obvious that saner elements among these two essential pillars of the judiciary must have reflected on the consequences for the country of a continuing tiff. As a result, the 1300-odd lower court judges, who had submitted their resignations to the Lahore High Court Chief Justice, have gone back to work; the lawyers who had kept an unrelenting pressure have called off their strike and boycott of the courts; and the District and Sessions Judge, Lahore, Zawar Ahmad Sheikh, has received an extension of his leave for four months. It was the lawyers complaint that the attitude of the D&S judge was 'undesirable and their demand for his transfer, which had been responsible for creating the trouble, in the first instance. The other side accused the lawyers of trying to pressurise the judge to recruit persons of their choice in his office, which Judge Zawar Sheikh had resisted. To recapitulate the events: the countrywide rallies that the lawyers staged during the past few days had, at times, taken an ugly turn. Rowdy scenes were witnessed when the lawyers ransacked the office of the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court; the police tried to restore order with brutal means and were also roughly handled; and some journalists were manhandled. Things threatened to go completely out of hand. These scenes were a poignant reference to the society that is ill at ease with itself. Innumerable reasons could be listed in support of this contention, though perhaps the most prominent are the trend to have ones way by hook or by crook; bad governance, with its tales of rampant corruption and lavish style of living in the face of an increasingly impoverished people; and a galling sense of insecurity, and the pressures that these factors exert. However, it was a shame and a matter of grave concern to see the legal community - lawyers and judges - that had struggled together for the restoration of the deposed judiciary, to split. In this context, it was difficult to ignore the allegation that, as the judiciary was pitted against the government on certain crucial issues and as Minister Babar Awan had been doling out money to bar associations, the rumpus was deliberately created to whittle down the impact of their unity. In the Pakistan of today, when fissiparous tendencies are glaringly visible at every end and the need for a common sentiment of nationhood is most urgent, such an attempt is no less than a betrayal of the country. We badly need a strong and independent judiciary, the more so at this time, and the lawyers, we are certain, do realise that their own good lies with it.