THE ruling coalition has launched moves to acquire the support of 295 members of Parliament to impeach the President. The Presidential camp is trying its level best to foil the attempt while at the same time toying with the idea of taking recourse to Article 58(2b). PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari is reportedly hoping to net as many as 350 parliamentarians. On Thursday, the Punjab Assembly passed a unanimous resolution calling on the National Assembly to scrap Article 58(2b), which indicates the depth of public sentiment against the provision. All the four provincial assemblies are expected next week to pass resolutions calling on the President to seek a vote of confidence or quit. President Musharraf meanwhile has said he would reply to the chargesheet being prepared against him in Parliament. In separate statements, both Washington and London have indicated they consider the move for impeachment an internal affair of the country. There is a perception that it is easier for a government in power to win the type of numbers game which has begun in good earnest after the announcement by Mr Zardari and PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif to impeach the President. Since the elections, the President's influence over powerful security agencies is on the wane, though by no means totally ended. With his hold over the levers of power considerably weakened, the President is no more in possession of unlimited powers to benefit his supporters and harm his opponents. It would be difficult under the circumstances for him to indulge in the type of political engineering that he resorted to for years before the February elections. In case of the establishment remaining neutral, his departure would therefore be imminent. Another imponderable is the role of the Supreme Court which could become decisive in case the President was to resort to any action based on mala fide intentions. Some of the leaders of the lawyers' movement have expressed reservations over tying up the restoration of the judges with impeachment. This, according to them, amounts to putting the issue on the backburner. What will happen if the move for impeachment does not fructify, they have asked? They have also expressed doubts about the outcome if the present Supreme Court was called on to decide an appeal against any unconstitutional move by the President. As the government takes on President Musharraf, it would be ill advised to alienate the legal community. Their support can be ensured by restoring the deposed judges ahead of the move for impeachment. With an independent judiciary in place, the government would be secure against any unconstitutional action on the part of the President. With Mr Zardari agreeing to restore the judges in accordance with the Murree accord, there is little sense in delaying their restoration through an executive order.