And here we were, thinking we had nothing better to do all weekend than celebrate Valentines Day, when the government was the first to spring a surprise, by its notification, then the judges concerned refused to take oath, and finally the Supreme Court issued an interim order suspending the notification, and in as much time as it takes to say Bobs your uncle, the country was plunged into a judicial crisis, and the Presidents order was disobeyed. It was also suspended by the Supreme Court, and thus must go down in our national history as the worst-treated presidential order ever issued. That we have hanged people who have held the office of Prime Minister is probably not relevant, but it should be remembered that the armed forces, whenever they take over, have the Army chief become President, because the President is also, ex officio, supreme commander. As Supreme Commander, he is supposed to have all his orders obeyed, and it was perhaps no coincidence that this defiance took place when the lawyer accused in the Shazia murder case was bailed out. Now, for those who thought the lawyers movement was meant to place lawyers where bureaucrats both civil and military were, above the law, both cases were a revelation. The first established that judicial appointments were supposed to be made only after the Chief Justice was consulted; the second was more or less an acquittal, for that is what is meant by bail in a murder case. Though the case keeps on coming back, mainly to haunt the accused, conviction is as unlikely as to be virtually impossible. However, if the President cannot have his orders obeyed, then what is the point of the office? This is a point for national soul-searching, because there is no higher office, and it is even higher than the Constitution. As previous Martial Laws have shown, the country can exist without the Constitution, but it must have a President whose orders are obeyed, whose notifications are honoured. This is probably the right time for the country to be saved from itself, from civilians, by the only institution that has remained unsullied in this entire affair. We have seen only too well, because of four previous experiments, how well the military solves our problems, and we can expect the same respect for the Constitution and for the rule of law that we have had in the past. Funnily enough, there is the behaving as if we were an independent country, which had been left alone by the international community, and not a country in the front line of the War on Terror. Nowhere is the sole Warrior on Terror, the redoubtable Rehman Malik on the scene, even though his piercing view of the situation is much needed, if the President wants his orders obeyed as they should be. After all, the President is not supposed to have his interpretation of the Constitution and the laws questioned, and certainly not by the Supreme Court, especially in the matter of appointments, for the judges of the superior judiciary are supposed to uphold the old order in future, especially any interventions that might be needed to save the country from itself. Meanwhile, instead of paying attention to the various crises besetting the country, the government has got to pay attention to a crisis within that institution which is supposed to save it from crises. And dont mention the rule of law. For the law is not supposed to apply to governments, and especially to Presidents, particularly when they pass orders. The judiciary is supposed to cover for them, not question those orders, or declare them illegal. In the meantime, what does the ordinary man get a promise of? That the various crises in his life will not be addressed. There will continue to be a wheat crisis, a sugar crisis, and a gas crisis, and the price of POL products will go on rising, while the country continues to be in hock to the IMF. The military will take over because the politicians are unable to solve these problems, and will take credit for taking tough decisions which it will do because it cant solve those problems either. Ziaul Haq gave us Islam and culture. The heroin culture, the Kalashnikov culture. Did he solve the problems of the country? Pervez Musharraf gave us enlightened moderation, and the crises. Did he solve the problems of the country? Asif Zardari replaced him, to the great delight of all Pakistanis, who fell over congratulating one another on their shiny new President. Zardari gave us the judges. And Blackwater. And no solutions. But apart from all this, there was no interruption of Valentines Day celebrations. I would not, but She Whose Word Is Law would smell a needless rat if I didnt. But seriously, She Whose Word Is Law is the best wife anyone could have, and I dont deserve my good luck. But then, everyone must feel like that, or there would be no Valentines Day.