THE Supreme Courts unanimous decision on Friday regarding the stories of the government seeking to target the SC Judges has been a defining moment in the strengthening of an independent judiciary. A full bench of the SC has issued a standing order stating that the President and heads of all constitutional institutions should not attempt to withdraw the order restoring the judges as any such executive order would violate Article 6 (subversion) of the Constitution. This has put paid to government efforts to play dangerous games with the higher judiciary. The Government has also been given time till 18th October to explain its position in detail on the issue. Equally important, the SC also declared that it found the story breaking on Thursday on the electronic media was not wrong and if it was so then the government must say so categorically through a signed statement of the PM. During the hearing on Friday, if there had been even an iota of hope that the government was really not guilty of plotting anything against the Supreme Court Judges; and the rumours that had led the SC Judges to meet Thursday night and decide to hold a full court hearing on the rumours being given vent on the electronic media; this hope had been shattered on Friday when despite being given time the Attorney General failed to present a signed statement by the PM stating the governments intent on the whole issue. The pretext used by the AG that the Prime Minister was busy merely caused more frustration within the SC full bench which has been displaying impeccable patience while suffering all manner of abuse at the hands of primarily Zardari loyalists. Not surprisingly, the SC was not satisfied by the AGs response which merely sought more time. In fact, the government has taken the demand for constantly seeking more time to a fine art of political machination. Many legal minds feel that a few contempt of court orders many also be required to put an end to the public abuse of the judiciary by government loyalists. Now the government, specifically the PM, stands exposed as it was clear that their move against the independent judiciary was in the offing, but it prematurely became public through the media and allowed the SC judges to move to save the critical institution of the higher judiciary. What has now become even more evident is that the whole government and its system are being used to ensure President Zardaris survival and the country was a secondary issue. For the Gilani government all that matters is to protect President Zardari, and the country is suffering on all fronts as a result. In this context, the role of the main Opposition has also been disappointing with the PML-N vacillating over what its position was on these government antics. It is now clear that unless the government changes course and abides by the rule of law, including respecting the independence of the judiciary, the state institutions are headed for an unsavoury and dangerous collision course. After all, the Gilani governments goal is to save one individual in power while the senior judiciary seeks to defend the Constitution.