With the unceremonious sacking of the National Security Advisor Mehmud Ali Durrani "for his irresponsible behaviour of not taking the prime minister and other stakeholders into confidence and lack of coordination on matters of national security", the divisions within the ruling oligarchy can hardly be kept secret any longer. His access to authorities beyond the prime minister and the reported US intervention to have him restored add a bizarre dimension to the controversy. Rumours of pressure on the prime minister to quit have been abundant for a while but, since the first death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto and the collateral wisecrack by Mr Zardari that he knew the killers of his spouse, there has been a growing upsurge of emotion that a serious effort needs to be initiated to uncover the mystery shrouding the brutal assassination of the former prime minister. The removal of the advisor comes quickly after the ill-advised arrest and subsequent bailout of the former Chief Minister of Sindh Mr Mumtaz Ali Bhutto in a case regarding the alleged assault on a newspaper office by the members belonging to his party. This is being viewed as another step on the road strewn with pitfalls to perpetuate an 'adopted' dynastic stranglehold on national politics. Mr Bhutto has been persistently talking about the need for unearthing the conspiracy around the elimination of Benazir Bhutto and has now reiterated his determination to have a First Information Report (FIR) registered in this regard after consultation with his lawyers. Not to be overlooked are the recent statements emanating from the estranged quarters within Pakistan People's Party that an immediate enquiry should be ordered into the dastardly murder now that the United Nations seems unwilling to do the same. There were voices raised about the inadvisability of referring the case to the UN in the first place as that would facilitate the way for international meddling into our affairs. That advice not having been taken, the case rests without any meaningful progress having been made for more than one year now. This, by itself, is a matter of grave concern for every Pakistani and a poor reflection on the state of the judiciary in the country. The unannounced truce between the PPP and PML-N also seems to be strained to the point of breaking down as the latter has announced to unilaterally introduce a bill regarding the annulment of the 17th amendment in the next session of the National Assembly scheduled for January 12. There are also reports of a rapprochement between PML-Q and PML-N with the intention of launching a joint move to restore the supremacy of the Parliament and also cooperate regarding other matters that have been pending for a visible lack of interest on the part of the ruling coalition. If a way could be found for the elusive cooperation between the former partners in the Muslim League, the pressure on the PPP would mount enormously and it may have to act with regard to critical issues that it has been pushing under the rug so far. That would include, but may not be limited to, the restoration of the judiciary, annulment of all the undesirable clauses in the constitution that were authored to ensure the elongation of the rule of the former dictator, the legality and constitutionality of acts of the establishment that were taken after the issuance of the injunction of a 7-member bench of the Supreme Court on November 2 and numerous other related matters. The brewing pressure from outside coupled with fissures within make for an unsavoury cocktail over the coming days, weeks and months. Will the rickety coalition survive the onslaught? PPP has no one but itself to blame for the mess that it has now landed in. The beginning was rather auspicious with hope springing from the purported cooperation between the former opponents - PPP and PML-N. It has also to be said that PML-N, so far, has remained sincere to the letter and spirit of its understanding with the PPP contained in the Charter of Democracy (CoD) that was signed by the slain Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif as well as all subsequent agreements that the two parties arrived at with regard to the advent of governance in conformity with the constitution and the rule of law. Unfortunately, it is an account of perpetual dithering on the part of the PPP leadership to honour its verbal and written commitments that sowed the seeds of distrust among the original partners of the coalition leading to the withdrawal of the PML-N ministers from the Cabinet. In spite of that, Nawaz Sharif continued to offer cooperation to the ruling coalition contending that he did not want to destabilise the government. Is it that the limit has been crossed and there does not remain any hope for a remedial strategy being put in motion now that there is talk of going solo on issues of national importance? On the face of it, that seems to be the case. In almost one year, the PPP government has failed to move forward on any of the critical issues that have plagued Pakistan in the recent past. The most conspicuous of these is the issue relating to the rule of law in the country. This could only be achieved if the PPP leadership had shown sincerity to the agreements it had signed with PML-N when it sought the latter's support in its efforts to form a government. That support having been secured, it moved swiftly to renege on every commitment it had made with its former traditional opponent, thus razing to ground the edifice of hope that had been garnered in the process. Consequently, the PPP popularity graph plummeted to an alarming low while that of the PML-N rose to an all-time high. This only showed that the people wanted those agreements to be honoured by all concerned and they looked disapprovingly upon those elements that had contributed to the conspiracy to keep the country embroiled in an unsavoury and unending feud with regard to the basic needs for its survival. It is make or break time for the PPP. For it to survive, its leadership must come to immediate grips with the real issues that the country and its suffering multitudes are confronted with. Mere rhetoric will not do. It is time for solutions that must be visible to every one. The nation has survived for too long on promises alone. There is no more room or time for that. This is the time for a one-item agenda: rule of law for every one. Will that be acceptable for the PPP leadership and the battery of cronies and sycophants that is continually prospering riding the bandwagon of the illegal and unconstitutional National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)? I have my serious doubts The writer is an independent political analyst based in Islamabad. E-mail: raoofhasan@hotmail.com