WHILE Section 144 has been withdrawn from Punjab for two days to facilitate the lawyers' long march, extraordinary measures taken in Islamabad to stop them from converging on Parliament create a perception of nervousness on the part of the federal government. Roads leading to Parliament have been blocked by dozens of containers, which would serve as an eerie reminder of May 12 mayhem in Karachi. Newspaper reports tell of the Interior Ministry implementing the security plan for the federal capital prepared by the previous government. For over 15 months, the lawyers have protested, on Constitution Avenue several times, and have maintained the peace even under grave provocation. The over-reaction on the part of the government is therefore uncalled for. The lawyers have selected Parliament as the destination of their march for obvious reasons. Before the February 18 elections, the protesters headed towards the Presidency, which they considered to be responsible for the assault on the judiciary. Now they think Parliament holds the key to the restoration of judges. One deadline after another for restoration through a parliamentary resolution has passed by without the promise being fulfilled. This has created doubts about the motives of the government while it has given birth to differences among the coalition partners, leading to the departure of the PML(N) Ministers from the federal cabinet. The divisions are getting sharpened with the passage of time. The PML(N) has put its weight behind the lawyers' movement, providing full protocol to the deposed judges and facilities to the protesting lawyers, political workers and civil society activists. Prominent PML(N) leaders have joined the marchers in a number of cities, both in Sindh and Punjab. There are reports that the Punjab police has not been made available this time for the maintenance of law and order in Islamabad. The PPP, on the other hand, is being criticized by the lawyers' community for going back on its promises. What must worry the party is that while it has kept itself aloof from the protests, many lawyers belonging to it have joined the march. Such is the force of public opinion that even the PML(Q) President Ch. Shujaat Hussain has directed his party men not to criticize the lawyers' march. The government has delayed the restoration of deposed judges too long. It is ironic that the legal community, which should have been a staunch ally of the elected government, remains at odds with it. Disunity in the ranks of the democratic forces does not augur well for the coalition government. It is ironic that instead of being able to resolve its differences with the lawyers, it is becoming increasingly dependent on police, Rangers and law enforcement agencies to deal with them.