With almost all major parties desperately trying to either preserve their stake, or create a niche, in the power structure of the country, Pakistans political scene of today presents a picture of intense activity. The PPP is making hectic efforts to retain its alliance with the MQM and add another party, the PML-Q, to it to avoid the possibility of becoming a minority in the National Assembly, which might encourage the PML-N to table a vote of no-confidence against it. President Zardars call to PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif to urge for his partys continued role in strengthening the democratic order was a link in that chain. It was an attempt at containing PML-Ns opposition within the limit that would not dislodge the present political set-up. The response he received was a repeat of genuine grouses about broken promises and defiance of judicial verdicts by the federal government that is led by Zardaris party. In an attempt at appeasing the PML-N, Zardari went to the extent of even denying his known utterance about who had ordered his tongue to be cut. The unreliability factor has inevitably caused an acute disappointment to the PML-N leadership, and while it is keen to let democracy take root and flourish in the country, the questionable ways of PPPs governance tend to give it a strong feeling that democracy is being systematically sabotaged. The MQM, disillusioned once again with the PPP, wants, at the minimum, the ouster of its bte noire, Dr ZulfiqarMirza, who has openly accused it of masterminding Karachis target killings, but while he continues to occupy the sensitive portfolio of Sindh Home Minister, the President has despatched Interior Minister Rehman Malik to London to attempt reconciliation with its leader AltafHussain. Reportedly, the removal of Governor Dr Ishrat-ulIbad (MQM) from his office is being demanded as a quid pro quo for cashiering Dr Mirza. The PML-Q, though marred by the emergence of Unification Bloc within its ranks, is nevertheless a big enough player in the countrys political arena to tilt the balance one way or the other in the National Assembly. While the PML-Q is being wooed by the PPP, it is not itself too unwilling to go the half way; possibly, the court case against its budding leader, apart from the PML-Ns attitude towards it, might be drawing it closer to the PPP. It is an unfortunate reality of Pakistans politics that at a time when there is widespread perception, both at home and abroad, that the ruling class is riddled with corrupt elements, who are also in open defiance of the judiciary, there are parties willing to form an alliance with it. The entire game is for getting into the corridors of power. No one seems to be thinking about the mounting sufferings of the people due to rampant insecurity, pervasive graft, spiralling inflation, and utter lack of the basic facilities of life like decent and affordable education, ready healthcare, regular supply of electricity and water, public transport, and a host of other needs. Their preoccupation with survival against these odds has rendered them indifferent to the leaderships manoeuvrings and, indeed, the system. This is anything but democracy in action