WHILE President Zardari has been frequently meeting the Sindh cabinet and has announced a number of projects for the province, on Friday he presided for the first time over the Punjab cabinet. He was given briefing on the ongoing development projects. Reportedly he was also apprised of the problems being faced by the province, which required help from the Centre. According to another report the President praised the performance of the administration led by Mian Shahbaz and agreed to provide Rs 32 billion for development projects. The interaction between the President and Punjab cabinet was a welcome step. Notwithstanding the fact that Mr Zardari is the Co-Chairman of the PPP, being the Head of the State he needs to be seen to be above party politics and equally accessible to all provincial administrations. It is not difficult to understand why it took Mr Zardari ten long months after being elected President to have a personal encounter with the Punjab government in which the PPP is a junior partner. Confrontation between the PPP and PML-N, which started soon after the latter quit the federal cabinet when the promise to restore the deposed judges was not honoured, assumed a particularly acrimonious form in Punjab. As the provincial Governor who represents the Centre jumped into the fray, the PML-N interpreted the letters he started writing to the CM as a part of the perceived move to destabilise the government. Things took an ugly turn when both sides indulged in personal attacks making many wonder if the claim by their leadership of never going back to the era of no-holds-bared struggles of the past was really more than skin deep. The imposition of Governor's rule led to further estrangement between the parties. Attempts to repair the relations after the restoration of the deposed judges were stalled by suspicions fuelled by Sindh law officers' support of the cases against Mian Nawaz Sharif. The meeting between President Zardari and Mian Nawaz, held after eight months, is a good omen provided it leads to further talks aimed at mutual cooperation to resolve the momentous issues the country is facing. Speaking at the Governor's House Mr Zardari has called on political parties to promote reconciliation and strengthen democracy. Nice words, however, are not enough as the experience of the post-election period would amply indicate. As long as the lack of trust between the two parties continues to prevail, knives could be out at the slightest perceived threat to their respective interests. Among the outstanding issues that could threaten their relations is that of the third tenure for the Prime Minister. This needs to be resolved in accordance with the CoD. Any deviation from the commonly agreed document is liable to provoke calls to arms, a situation that needs to be avoided