IT seems our political leadership thrives on functioning in a cyclical process comprising conflict, crisis and then resolution of the crisis by rescinding its action that had created the crisis in the first place. This is an unhealthy way of governance and one that is unstable, creating uncertainty and polarisation within civil society. The pattern has now played itself out in the latest judicial crisis where the Prime Minister has done remarkable somersaults in a matter of a few days Finally, he met with the Chief Justice and, on the face of it, once again the government retreated from its wayward stance. So in the end the Chief Justices recommendations were accepted and Justice Saqib Nisar was elevated to the Supreme Court while Justice Sharif would remain as the CJ of the Lahore High Court. The CJs recommendation to appoint Justice Ramday as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court for one year was also accepted. An additional judge was also elevated to the Supreme Court - Justice Asif Khosa - while the Prime Minister conceded that the filling of vacant posts of the Sindh and Punjab High Courts would be filled immediately after requisite consultations and advice and summaries would be sent to the President. Will the President accept this political setback? The Prime Minister declared that a constitutional crisis in the making had been resolved. However, the more pressing question is why the whole country has to be held hostage to the whims and fancies of one man - the President and his badly informed advisers who continue to ill advise him? If all institutions are actually allowed to function properly and within their spheres according to the Constitution, and no one personalises their power, the country cannot only be governed smoothly but also governed well. Unfortunately, the Presidency has not allowed that to happen. Instead, until issues reach a crisis point and threaten to go over the brink, erroneous decisions continue to be made consciously and stands are taken which have no locus standi, constitutionally and within the norms of good governance and accepted procedures. This trend is not something new since all leaders in this country - both democratic and dictatorial - have tended to govern in a highly personalised fashion, assuming the judiciary to be an appendage of the executive. This has now altered for good and it is time the government realised this basic new ground reality. There is now an independent judiciary and judicial activism in the interests of the people of this country is a healthy developing trend. The government must adjust to these new realities so that the cycle of confrontation, crisis and retreat can be broken and some cohesive governance can be seen. The next test will be action on the NRO decision of the SC, where again the government is vacillating. PM Gilani should move on that count too without going through dizzying somersaults.