I am told by the one whose membership of the PPP Central Executive Committee has been suspended and who has been served with a notice for having violated the party discipline for supporting the Lawyers' Movement, of an incident back in 1992. Benazir Bhutto was addressing a public meeting in Lahore and the responsibility for making the arrangements had been entrusted to Jehangir Badar. During the course of the proceedings, when once Salman Taseer tried to get on the stage, he was literally thrown off by Jehangir Badar. The incident was reported to the PPP chairperson who, in the presence of the narrator, scolded the novice that there was no need for him to have attempted to get on the stage in the first place. The matter rested there for all these years and one did not hear of Salman Taseer and the PPP together till he was hoisted on Punjab and he got his opportunity to settle the score. The PPP secretary general is reported to have been denied entry into the Governor House recently because he tried to smuggle in his son. He had to return from the gate. Time notwithstanding, sweet revenge, indeed Now to the more recent happenings The preparations for the long march and the sit-in are in full swing, which have been boosted by the successful holding of another Lawyers' Convention in Peshawar. The speakers from the legal fraternity dealt with the need for the advent of the rule of law and quick dispensation of justice to quell the rising tide of violence throughout the country. There was unanimity on the need for holding the sit-in at the conclusion of the long march since all democratic and parliamentary options had been exhausted for the annulment of the dictator's proclamation of November 3, 2007. It is, indeed, a gross travesty of justice that it is the same unconstitutional, illegal and immoral order on which rests the edifice of the incumbent dispensation, giving rise to the perception that it is only a continuation of a despotic rule and its policies. The convention in Peshawar was held amidst the apparent uncertainty regarding the participation of PML-N in the long march and the consequent sit-in. There have been reservations expressed by some of the party's stalwarts as to the mechanism of the sit-in and the possible results that it is expected to deliver. The principal question that is being debated is that, in the event the sit-in does not result in the restoration of an independent judiciary, what after that? Are there other options that the legal fraternity would employ to attain the coveted goal? While the query may have some relevance, the leadership of the Lawyers' Movement has no ambiguity that there is no prospect of the sit-in not succeeding in doing the needful as it would end only and when an independent judiciary would be restored in the country: be it in days, weeks or months While the prospect of failure cannot be eliminated completely at the advent of a struggle, efforts should be undertaken to reduce it to the barest minimal in the context of expectancy and pursuit of the desired goals. In any event, it has to be faced that the dynamics of the sit-in are such that it may lead to the most unexpected, even undesirable results. Then there are issues relating to its sustenance in the event results don't materialise as per expectations. The prospect of violence also has to be considered particularly in view of the absolute, unbending obduracy being exhibited by the ruling clique to come good on its commitments and the prospect of the unleashing of their undemocratic apparatus in the face of mounting pressure. Having gone back on repeated verbal and written undertakings, there is little room for succour. The incumbent leadership has ascended the throne only because a military despot tried one last trick to hang on to power: he hoisted the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) on a hapless people. In the process, while he was not able to save his skin, he nevertheless gifted a bunch of self-serving individuals to tamper with the fate of this country who are not willing to play by any rules of the game. There is only this incontrovertible stubbornness to hang on there irrespective. Of little or no value are the interests of the country and of little or no consequence are the challenges that the state is confronted with. While the country is ceding its writ to petty fiefdoms that are emerging at a rapid pace right across its expanse, the leadership remains intoxicated in the notion that it is indispensable. From one blunder to another, the country is being continually subjected to unremitting tremors that are, in essence, causing irreparable damage to its wobbly foundations. How long would it be able to endure this relentless pounding from multiple directions and sources? How often would it be able to rise from the proverbial ashes after succeeding leaderships have denuded it of all its strengths? It seems these are inconsequential ponderings amidst an infatuation with self-preservation and aggrandisement If PML-N is hesitant to offer unqualified support to the Lawyers' Movement for which it had taken an oath from all its candidates fighting the elections of February, 2008 out of fear of any adventurism orchestrated by components of the establishment, individually or collectively, this fear emanates from a grave miscalculation. The uncertainty within their thinking is further accentuated by numerous imponderables that the PML-N leadership is confronted with. There is the looming risk of losing their government in the Punjab and there is also the possibility of the disqualification of their leadership from the courts. This appears to be an ill-conceived trap. Fear of the self should not take precedence over the dangers that confront the state and a capitulation at this juncture before forces representing a continuation of dictatorial parlance and methods would inflict grave damage on the burgeoning national resolve and its democratic aspirations. The only recourse that can help mitigate the evolving threat to the state is related to the need of making the requisite contribution to expediting the surge towards the advent of the rule of law in the country. That would be possible only if and when an independent judiciary is restored. The fear should not be of the unknown or the improbable. It should be of the clique that is out to dismantle the edifice of the state. The uncertainty should not be about the prospect of the success or otherwise of the long march. It should be about the accentuation of dangers hovering over the state of Pakistan if total support were not extended to the Lawyers' Movement and its attending objectives. Let's face it: this self-protecting trap of fear has to be overcome The writer is an independent political analyst based in Islamabad E-mail: raoofhasan@hotmail.com