A cursory look at what has been going on for the last couple of months would strengthen the perception that the major political adversaries are overtaken by the Thanatos, or death wish. The ruling PPP, which has the biggest stake in the system, is not willing to budge an inch from its stand on the restoration of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The PML(N) must agitate for the restoration of deposed judges even if the confrontation leads to the derailment of the system. Instead of helping to find a way out of the impasse, the equally inflexible lawyers organizations must go ahead with their countrywide protest. The militants, who killed 14 abducted security personnel on Sunday, are determined to pursue their 'holy' agenda, caring two hoots for its implications for the integrity and sovereignty of the country. As these developments take place, the national economy continues to bleed. With things continuing to deteriorate, those waiting in the wings give finishing touches to their contingency plans, despite the knowledge that they have neither the vision nor the expertise to put the country on the rails. What Federal Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Sunday amounts to taking the tension to new heights. The declaration that the time for reconciliation is over would put an end to hopes that had been aroused by attempts on the part of Mr Asfandyar Wali and Maulana Fazlur Rehman to bring the two sides together. When the PPP and PML(N) signed the Charter of Democracy, a section of the media had observed that the test of the two parties' claims of having learnt from the past would come when either of them was in power. The moment has arrived, and their failure to rise to the occasion has substantiated the worst misgivings. The two parties have again shown that they are capable only of uniting against a common enemy, but once they get rid of him they are invariably back to their infantile game of jumping at each others' throats even if it leads to the upsetting of the system. For the common man who had hoped that his leaders would cooperate to improve his lot and provide him security of life, the failure would constitute a great disappointment. With the inclusion of the lawyers, the fighting is likely to be transformed into a battle royal which would provide solace only to former President Musharraf, who is in search of a new role for himself as his remarks on the Indian Aaj Tak TV channel would indicate. One can only appeal to all sides concerned to avoid pushing the country to the brink by an unseemly struggle. They need to urgently review their maximalist positions and go for a compromise. Instead of artificially changing the power balance in the Punjab Assembly, the government should convene the House to allow it to choose a new Chief Minister. What is more, the door for talks must never be closed.