STATEMENTS from the President and Prime Minister indicate that both sides are fast approaching a standoff. Talking to an Indian TV channel, the President has maintained that attempts to remove him could harm democracy and that the restoration of the deposed judges could create a constitutional crisis. Mr Yousaf Raza Gillani on the other hand insists that the President has to fulfill the constitutional duty of addressing the joint session of Parliament and that it is for the latter to decide his fate. Meanwhile, the ruling coalition is set to introduce a resolution in the National Assembly for the reinstatement of the pre-November 3 judiciary in the next few days. There is a need on the part of the President to read the tea leaves correctly. It was easy to dictate to the alliance which ruled after the 2002 elections, as it had been put together through a fiat of political engineering by President Musharraf, who was also the COAS at the time. The present ruling coalition on the other hand is genuinely elected and has to fulfill the promises it has made to the electorate. These include the supremacy of Parliament, reinstatement of the judiciary, improving law and order and providing urgent economic relief to the common man. The Prime Minister's office is supposed to send a summary to President Musharraf within a few days, calling on him to read out to Parliament the address prepared on behalf of the PM. A resolution jointly prepared by the coalition components for restoring the deposed judges is also to be adopted by the National Assembly during its present session to be followed by an executive order leading to their reinstatement. The statements by the US administration's functionaries indicate that despite earlier reservations regarding the judges' restoration and the resolution of the issue of militancy mainly through political means, the administration has finally reconciled with the changed situation. It has been clarified that Washington views Pakistan, rather any individual, as vital in the War on Terror. Pledging to strengthen Pakistan's democratic institutions, Dr Condoleezza Rice has called for solid civilian control of the country's armed forces. Important steps are being taken to build bridges with the new government, including the end of democracy-related sanctions imposed after the military takeover in 1999. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has been assured by Washington, the World Bank and the IMF that they would extend full support to the new government as it prepares to meet the economic challenges it faces. Internally, the camp supporting the President is in shambles. What is needed on his part under the circumstances is to cooperate with the new government rather than confront it. It is considered graceful on the part of a good chess player to surrender, moves ahead of an inevitable checkmate.