PRESIDENT Asif Zardari is absolutely right when he opines that confrontation between internal political forces at this stage would be detrimental to the interests of the country because it is up against formidable challenges, but it would be difficult to bear him out that the PPP has been following a policy of reconciliation; at best its strategy has been a mixture of confrontation and reconciliation when it comes to Punjab where Pakistan's other major political party - PML (N) - heads the government. His counsel to the party's Punjab MNAs and MPAs, which he tendered while presiding over a meeting at Islamabad on Saturday, that they should stay calm stands in sharp contrast with the free hand the PPP leadership seems to have given to Governor Salman Taseer to kick up a row with the PML (N) every other day. There is hardly anything in public knowledge to form the view that the PPP high command wants Mr Taseer to change his attitude towards the PML (N), except for a mild advice, which in any case has not had any tangible effect, leading to the conclusion that it was not perhaps meant to be taken seriously. Earlier at the meeting, some PPP's MNAs and MPAs from Punjab had given vent to their grievances against the PML (N) government and wanted their party to respond in equal measure, but it is good to know that Mr Zardari held on to the view that the situation called for the coalition to keep functioning; for no party alone could come out of the present challenges successfully. The news from the PML (N) side, however, is that it appears to be on the verge of losing patience over the fact that though the present set-up has had enough time to honour its pledges, it has been adopting delaying tactics. Mian Nawaz Sharif has virtually threatened that his party's cooperation is contingent upon the establishment of an independent judiciary, making the parliament supreme and finding solution to the problems the people are facing. His assessment that had the commitments made to the people been adhered to the country would have been free from both internal and external pressures is not entirely in order, though. But certainly their impact would have been much less severe and the two major political parties standing together were better able to face them off. It is quite clear that both parties have to avoid taking a confrontationist stand and work towards winding down the tension. The PPP should seriously think how it could prolong the issues of restoring the judiciary and Constitution to its pre-October 1999 position. A real move towards these goals would draw the PML (N) back into the fold of the coalition and give the ruling set-up the strength required to ward off pressures and form policies strictly conforming to the national interest.