With the law and order situation in the country in dire straits, scandals involving government and price hikes hitting the common man like bolts of lightening, claims of good governance hold little water now. These are tough times for the PPP, a truly national party that once reigned supreme among varying strata of society especially the lower middle class. Promise of an egalitarian democracy and the socialistic ideas to deliver economic and social justice were the cornerstones of PPP's manifesto. Now they have been put on the backburner. While trumpeting the supremacy of Parliament and the constitution in all matters legal, PPP has fared badly on issues like the infamous 17th Amendment. The man elected by the PPP to grace the Presidency has shown little grace on the issue, mostly formulating committees of varying shades, perceivably to buy time. In retrospect, earnest efforts that would truly strengthen democratic norms in society and consolidate rickety democratic institutions have long been rendered pipe dream. No wonder there is an air of bitterness in the camp, the Presidential supporters seemingly huddled aloof from the Prime Minister's party. The marriage of convenience between mainstream political parties ought to last in order to consolidate our fledgling democracy but it does not look like doing so for very long. In the current milieu that Pakistanis find themselves in, confidence in the present political dispositions has eroded to such an extent that not a single party in the mainstream is thought of being in possession of solutions to our myriad problems. If one party seems to have a stance that appeals to the masses on the ideological front, it seems sure to fail in alleviating their problems due to lack of foothold of a voter base or political skills needed for realpolitiks. A sliver of a civil society and student groups have emerged on the political horizon lately, not aligned with any political party but are yet to be an independent force to reckon with. -MUHAMMAD JALAL AWAN, Lahore, November 19.