WITH disagreements cropping up over the issue of the scheduled sit-in between the lawyers' leadership and the PML-N, the former has decided to stick to its already chalked out programme, while calling on the public to make the sit-in successful. Not long ago PKMAP President Mahmud Khan Achakzai had called on the legal community to hold consultations with all political parties regarding the objectives of the sit-in, saying that nothing should be done to destabilise democracy. Had the lawyers listened to that advice, the danger of their getting isolated from a strong section of their erstwhile supporters would not have arisen. The defiance of military dictator Pervez Musharraf by the superior judiciary led by Chef Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry constitutes a golden chapter in an otherwise dismal judicial history of Pakistan. Similarly, the support provided to judiciary by the legal community, civil society and political parties has no precedent in Pakistan or abroad. The defence of the Constitution by the judges, some of whom had taken oath under the PCO after the military coup in 1999, galvanised the entire nation against the dictator at a time when political parties had failed, despite consecutive efforts, to bring the masses to the streets. The lawyers' movement roused the masses from remotest towns to major cities. The anti-military dictatorship upsurge weakened the dictator. What is more, it forced a realisation in the West, which had up till then blindly supported General Musharraf, to open communication with Ms Benazir Bhutto, whose overtures had that far been by and large ignored. The movement thus facilitated the return of Ms Bhutto and the Sharif brothers. This said, the present situation requires both the lawyers and government to see whether the uncompromising positions they have taken are in national interest. There is a need on the part of lawyers' leaders, unrestored judges and PPP leaders to try to find a middle way to settle the dispute at the earliest. The retirement of Chief Justice Dogar should provide an opportunity to the government to hammer out a consensus that leads to the restoration of the rest of deposed judges. Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is by no means uncognizant of the complications that might arise from the restoration. He needs to show necessary flexibility, of which he has provided several examples in the past, to create a sense of assurance. Presudent Zardari's claim that he stands for compromise is liable to be challenged if he fails to resolve the issue by taking decisions that might not be altogether palatable to him, but would lead to a peace with the lawyers and the PML-N returning to the Cabinet. The reconciliation would strengthen the system and improve the position of the elected government vis--vis other centres of power inside the country, as well as with foreign powers.