THE lawyers' movement, in the words of President SCBA Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, has certainly entered a crucial phase. Out of the 18 remaining judges, some more have thrown feelers to get themselves reappointed through a fresh oath. According to reports, deposed Chief Justice Sindh High Court Justice Sabihudduin Ahmed, a staunch supporter of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry along with a few others, are expected to take oath as judges of the Supreme Court. The Lahore Bar Association, not very happy at this piecemeal approach, banned the entry of Law Minister Farooq H Naek to the bar and cancelled the membership of Attorney General Latif Khosa. The government's strategy, nevertheless, of resolving the crisis cannot be just rejected away as a mere failure. Precisely this is the reason why cracks have started to appear in the lawyers' movement with more and more members getting double-minded as to what should be their approach. The clash between two groups of lawyer in Multan on Friday is a case in point. Notwithstanding the legality principle, there is nothing anyone could do about the judges who have taken the fresh oath: they are now part of the judiciary and according to the Law Minister, the government, through placing the judges back on the bench, has successfully been able to reverse the actions of the former general. In the meanwhile, it would be worth the effort to go into the pros and cons of the movement itself. The lawyers, for their overall contribution, deserve a pat on the back in highlighting the importance of independent judiciary. They launched a heroic struggle at a time when opposition of any sort could not stand up to the harsh and arbitrary rule of the Musharraf regime. They raised public consciousness and continued their struggle for more than a year, bringing the previous regime to its knees. More important, their struggle was symbolic in the sense that they were striving to do away with the repugnant law of necessity that gave past military rulers the legal cover to subvert the people's will. But as they say, every masterpiece has its own flaws. While Pervez Musharraf failed to divide the legal fraternity, with him gone the PPP government faced no difficulty in persuading the judges to take oath, thereby creating dissentions in the lawyers' ranks. There is a need for the black coats to build on the struggle they have been waging so far and reconsider their decision to continue the agitation. One feels like calling upon the legal activists to exercise restraint and strengthen the democratic process. A continuous confrontation suits neither the legal community nor the fledging democracy.