DESPITE PPP spokesperson's optimistic assertion that the issue of the deposed judges would be resolved successfully, the relations between the PPP and the PML-N nearly reached the breaking point on Tuesday. Inside reports indicate that if the ANP and JUI-F had not intervened, they were likely to have parted company. Many fear that the crisis had in fact only been postponed for 72 hours. That this should have happened only a day after President Musharraf's resignation is all the more ominous. The former President's supporters have all along maintained that what had kept the two parties together was the opposition to the President and they would revert to no-holds-barred squabbles after he was no more there. The PPP is again backtracking on the clear and unambiguous understanding reached with the PML-N on August 7, and announced by Mr Zardari himself, that after the President had been removed through impeachment "all the deposed judges" would be restored "strictly in accordance with the Murree Declaration," implying that their reinstatement would take place urgently through an executive order rather than a constitutional amendment. It is now being maintained by the PPP that as the ANP and JUI-F were not a party to the declaration, it was necessary to seek their views. The excuse is unacceptable as both the JUI and the ANP had subsequently expressed no reservations about the promise of the judges' restoration made in the joint communiqu. To maintain that like the Murree Declaration the August 7 joint declaration was only a political statement not meant to be followed in letter and in spirit would create doubts about the PPP's commitment to the Charter of Democracy also. What is more it would strengthen the view that the politicians' words are not to be relied on. While Mr Musharraf is part of history now, the anti-democratic forces he represented are still very much there. While they have receded in the background, they are likely to become active in case the two major parties fall apart which is bound to happen if the judges are not restored as promised on August 7. There are many who hold that only a close alliance between the two mainstream parties can save democracy in Pakistan. What is more it is necessary for them to stick together to enable the government to fulfil the people's expectations of a better life, good governance and a peaceful society. The differences over the issue of the judges need to be resolved honestly and nothing should be done which creates a perception of gimmickry or sleight of hand. Meanwhile the PPP would do well to let Mr Bilawal Bhutto Zardari finish his education, as he is not supposed to contribute much in the parleys held between top ranking political leaders.