The long march and concluding public rally in Islamabad had all the trappings of a mega event that undoubtedly it was. Those who participated as well those who witnessed it on their TV screens were unanimous in their view that it was arguably the biggest ever congregation of people representing all walks of life, in the federal capital. Though the event did not produce the desired result s as anticipated by its organisers and the political parties supporting it, yet it was a ranting reaffirmation of the February 18 mandate and the fact that the post election events had not dampened the resolve of the people to have the deposed judges reinstated. Another thing that transpired from this exercise was that both the major coalition partners still stood firm on the reinstatement of the deposed judges and unconstitutional position of the president. Nevertheless they have not been able to smooth out their differences on the modalities to go about achieving the objective despite lapse of more than three months during which an intensive debate has been raging on the merits and demerits of the positions taken by both of them. While PML-N, the lawyers community and civil society strongly feel that the judges could be reinstated through a resolution in the National Assembly followed by an executive order, the PPP remains stuck to its position that the best way to do this is through a package of constitutional amendments which takes care of the restoration of judges, rectifies the aberrations inserted in the constitution by successive dictatorial regimes and also sets future constitutional course to be followed in running the state affairs. This approach stems partially from the belief that one wrong cannot be righted by another wrong and to some extent from the fear that this might push the country to the edge of a precipice if it is challenged by the president. The proponents of the view that the deposed judges can be restored through a resolution followed by an executive order base their position on the premise that since the November 3 action by Pervez Musharraf was unconstitutional and the fact that the constitution could not be amended except through the procedure laid down in the constitution itself, the Supreme Court was not competent either to amend the constitution or authorise any one else to do the same. Therefore the validation of Musharraf's action by the Supreme Court comprising the judges who took oath under the PCO was itself unconstitutional. As such there was no need for adopting constitutional means to undo an unconstitutional action. On the legal plank the argument is very strong and irrefutable. There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that the step taken by Musharraf was unconstitutional as also admitted by him and acknowledged by the court while validating his action. But the question is, will the president who is still armed with powers to dissolve the parliament and the existing judiciary accept the executive order? What will happen if they decide to challenge it? It is said that politics is an art of pragmatism and possibilities. The president and his henchmen have repeatedly reiterated their position that the November 3 action could not be undone through an executive order and it would require a constitutional amendment to fix the things as desired by the government. This amply indicates the designs of the man. He knows that he has been rejected outright by the masses and there is no moral justification for him to continue but he still claims that he is constitutionally elected president and would continue to play his constitutional role for the next five years. Viewed through this prism of ground realities, the apprehensions of PPP about the course of action proposed by the lawyers and its coalition partner PML-N despite being legally and morally right, seem very plausible. The man who has shown no respect for the constitution and sentiments of the people and bartered away the sovereignty of the country to prolong his personal rule, can go to any length to preserve it. And mind you he still enjoys support of his foreign backers who make no secret about it. The only way he can be stopped from derailing the democratic set-up and undoing of what he did on November 3, is to do it through constitutional means so that he has no other option but to accept the verdict of the parliament as he is no more the army chief to abrogate the constitution. The existing Supreme Court which is the creation of PCO will also be neutralised effectively through this. The constitutional package prepared by PPP has been sent to the coalition partners for eliciting their comments and views before it is presented in the parliament. It is hoped all the stakeholders will show political maturity and remove their differences amicably to arrive at a consensus document. Meanwhile it is also desirable that the coalition partners make concerted efforts to woo members from other political forces represented in the parliament to muster two-third majority required for the passage of the proposed constitutional package. If they agree on the substantive issues, the peripheral considerations should not be allowed to undermine the national cause. People are looking up to them to deliver. This perhaps is the last chance to rectify the maladies afflicting our body politic and if it is frittered away unimaginatively it would be a great tragedy for the nation. Time is also of essence. Sooner the task is accomplished the better. Coming back to the Long March, it was indeed a very unique event in the sense that not only the parties outside the government but also the two major coalition partners who have differences on the modalities for restoration of the judges were fully represented in the march and the concluding rally in front of the parliament house. The government made extensive security arrangements without causing any obstruction for the people desirous to take part in the rally and also greeted and welcomed the participants besides serving food to them. The beauty of democracy is its spirit of accommodation for opposing views which was seen at its best in Islamabad on June 13. Thankfully the public was spared of the despicable and ugly scenes of police charging the demonstrators and filling the atmosphere with the stinging smell of tear gas, a normal spectacle during such rallies. This is a healthy and welcome break from the past brutality against the political opponents. The lawyers community and the government deserve gratitude of the nation for keeping their part of the understanding on how the rally will be conducted, particularly Mr Rehman Malik who unfurled this idea and was a moving force behind this strategy. Full marks to him also for taking pre-emptive steps to keep the terrorists at bay.