The king is dead; long live the king, as they say in England. Musharraf resigned last Monday. So, part of the agenda the ruling alliance agreed upon early this month has been met. But the other crucial part, the reinstatement of the judges through a National Assembly resolution, is still in the air. It was expected that they would be reinstated on Tuesday. Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mr Zardari and Mr Zardari Bhutto, Asfandyar Wali and Maulana Fazlur Rahman went into a huddle soon after Musharraf resigned, raising people's hopes about the judges' reinstatement. No such thing happened. The upshot is that the JUI and ANP chiefs - leaders of the two smaller parties in the alliance - will now report within 72 hours on the "modality" of the judges' reinstatement. They need this time to study the drafts as they had not been kept in the picture on negotiations, a claim belied by fact. Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Mr Asfandyar Wali announced this before the TV cameras on Tuesday evening. The PPP, it seems, has gone back on another written agreement. The judges' fate hangs in the balance as they drag their feet and the lawyers prepare to take to the streets once again. One thing is clear though: Mian Nawaz Sharif is adding to his constituency with his determined stand on the subject. Secretly, I have always admired gamblers, never became one. We gambled small time in the college hostel in Lahore but only a small portion of the stipend we received from parents. It was no more than a few rupees this side or that and the winner usually took everybody to tea and a movie on the Mall later. I had a cousin who was a senior journalist at that time and held forth with his gang in Zelin's Coffee House opposite Commercial Building, a short walk from the Punjab University, on a fairly regular basis. They were all very interesting people from different walks of life. One of them was the Morris car agent in Pakistan, another worked with Lipton. Two of them were writers, both card bearing members of the Communist party who looked over their shoulder every now and then. The bond that held them together was horse racing. They bet on horses. They were a liberal lot who treated us on merit even though we were much younger. This was a very refreshing change for us as we had come to Lahore from small suburban towns where family culture was top down. But my cousin, who was much older than us, the late 50s, was different. And so were all his friends who admitted us in their circle without reservations. We discussed everything under the sun, from socialism to movies. So much so, that they did not hesitate to exchange smutty jokes in front of us. It was fantastic. Real gambling, I know, calls for strong nerves, the common quality in all serious gamblers. Highly intuitive, a serious gambler is inscrutable, firm and determined. No matter how high the bet on the twist of a card, there expression does not change. If you have ever witnessed serious gambling in a card room, you will know what I am talking about. Gamblers are unsung heroes. They don't really give a damn; they live to take risks and not regret if they have lost. They are men of honour who keep their word and settle their debts before the night is over. They care about each other and hang together. They don't much care for the outdoors: the tension of the card room keeps them alive. Musharraf, now gone to the entire nation's relief, says he plays a game of bridge. But devoid of any sense of honour, he is unlikely to be a serious gambler. Which is not like his Secretary NSC who is into horse racing in a big way: he owns race horses. He too has resigned. The rumour on Monday was that he had left the country as Musharraf made his resignation speech. Gambling has been with us since the ancient times regardless of culture. At one time, about 1000 AD, it became a part of inter-state diplomacy. King Olaf of Norway decided the issue of the ownership of a disputed territory with King Olaf of Sweden that both the countries claimed, by rolling the dice. King Olaf of Norway won and the two kings departed on good terms. Looking at the political confusion all around, I suggest that we hand over national management to a few well chosen gamblers. We can pick them from all the federating provinces to keep a representative character of the government. The card rooms of different clubs in Islamabad and the provinces are abuzz with activity. I am sure we shall find men of honour amongst them who will keep their word and deliver on it. The writer is a former inspector general of police