CONTRARY to the common perception, based on the government ministers, PPP leaders and workers' open and repeated criticism of the Supreme Court verdict on the NRO, the Prime Minister somehow feels that the government "respects the courts and their verdicts" and its ties with the judiciary are "excellent". As for the judiciary, it is, indeed, overly cautious, and consistent with the imperative of impartiality and conventions that 'the courts should speak through their judgments'. It has not gone public over this highly unseemly conduct of high government functionaries. Minister Kaira, who resorted to obtrusively uncalled-for utterances, even though the SC had denied that Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had met Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz, has however to face the music and appear in a contempt of court case. Despite all that, it is strange that the Prime Minister should be taking the nation to be so nave as to accept his contention. The factual position, unfortunately, points to an entirely different direction. The people cannot ignore what they see on the TV screen or read in the papers. They would treat such assurances of the PM as no more than rhetoric. The Prime Minister, who was addressing the National Assembly on Monday, also underlined certain laudable objectives that, he maintained, the government wanted to achieve. "We will try to strengthen the institutions. We have the responsibility to fulfil all the requirements of good governance. All the institutions are working in their spheres." The objectives of strengthening the various institutions of democracy and the provision of good governance are simply unassailable. The pity, however, is that the facts on the ground hardly bear out the plea that his government is serious about realising these objectives. Nor does the record prove that his colleagues regard the judiciary as working within its sphere. There have been allegations that the SC overstepped its functions when it ordered the re-appointment of FIA's DG Tariq Khosa, which in fact it was authorised to do under the writ of mandamus. Mr Khosa's removal could also be interpreted as an attempt at obstructing justice. It might be under the same writ that the SC asked the government to reopen the case against President Zardari in the Swiss court. In another development, the Swiss government has given an indication that it is ready to reopen the case, if the Pakistan government so demanded. The Chairman of British Lawyers Association believes that under Article 190 of the Constitution the government has no other choice but to approach the Swiss authorities in this regard. One hopes it would take up the matter soon. The question of establishing the ownership of $60 million raised by our High Commissioner at London Wajid Shamsul Hassan is balderdash.