It is very strange that President Zardari has cautioned about a newfangled attack on the parliament and the constitution. The charge is quite serious. It is not hard to tell as to who in his view could be the perpetrator and what purpose it would serve them to imperil one of the country’s most superior and strong institutions.

However, what is obvious is that this “threat”, if at all it exists is not as vicious as it is being made out to be. With more than four years of its rule, it is still enjoying smooth sailing. It would have been better had the President stated his apprehensions explicitly. One only wonders whether by referring to the constitution, he is hinting at the connotation that the court cannot interpret those clauses in which there is no ambiguity. But on the other hand he has likened the parliament’s well being to merely one individual the Prime Minister and hence is undermining hundreds of other legislators. He also seems to have given into his unfounded fear. The Judiciary has nothing against the parliament. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has stated on many occasions that the judiciary would the first institution to stand up against any quarter trying to dismember the popularly elected dispensation. It is a different debate whether according to his remarks, parliament means a process or is limited to the political survival of certain individuals who have come to think of themselves as indispensable. Given the executive’s sense of superiority vis-à-vis the other pillars of the state, particularly the judiciary, it is obvious that the ruling setup must realise that respect for rule of law is a natural corollary of democracy; they are no more free to keep turning to old precedents when the judiciary was slavishly subservient to the executive.

As political contours of the country take on a new character, the institutions have to look out that in an attempt to assert themselves over others they do not transgress the constitutional limits. In case of an institutional clash, it is quite obvious that off-stage players would find the opportunity to jump into the fray. For a matter of as small a political import as writing a letter to the Swiss court to become one of the most heated squabbles between the state’s two prestigious pillars is quite ominous. One expects the parliament to itself make its voice heard for its silence would mean no improvement on the rubberstamp assemblies in the past. The right way is to submit to the laws set by the constitution.