Right at a time when Pakistan is facing serious threats to its sovereignty with the Obama Administration considering extending drone attacks far beyond the tribal areas into Balochistan, the PPP leadership is doing everything it possibly could to push the country towards the edge of a precipice. Perhaps with friends like Governor Salman Taseer and Interior Adviser Rehman Malik President Zardari needs no enemies to make him move faster on the path of self-destruction. Give him full marks for not only resurrecting the discredited General Musharraf but also retrieving the House of Gujrat, teetering on the verge of political extinction, and giving it weightage more than it deserves. Coming as it did, the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other deposed judges raised the hopes of the people power becoming a guiding force for the revival of the rule of law and putting an end to the manipulation of democracy by an individual for self-interest. But once again these hopes were dashed with the presidency turning itself into a hub of intrigues. Governor Taseer threw a spanner in the works by dropping a hint about the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly in case no political party managed to prove the parliamentary majority required to form government. Media reports indicate that a new strategy is being finalised that will envisage stopping members of the forward bloc, through a presidential ordinance likely to be issued soon, from taking part in the election for the leader of the house. There is no doubt that Mr Taseer would be all ears for the Machiavellian moves to keep the Sharifs out of power in the Punjab. If he had done little to create harmony in the province and kept stirring up trouble for Mian Shahbaz during the past one year it has a background. The two sides have a running feud since 1988 when Mian Nawaz got Mr Taseer abducted and had him tortured. So he would certainly want to settle old scores, to relieve him of the agony of the time when he was hanged from the roof of a police station. It is for President Zardari to understand that he cannot afford to be misled any longer by the coterie of his unelected advisers who kept telling him that the formation of the PPP government in Punjab was only days away. Mr Taseer, to be fair to him, had no love lost for the PPP leadership until General Musharraf passed his 'finest political find' over to Mr Zardari. So he cannot be accused of undermining the interests of the party with which he has a brief brush since he travelled to Garhi Khuda Bux to pay homage to the late Ms Bhutto. The less said about the likes of Rehman Malik and Manzoor Wattoo the better. They must be shown the door. The sooner the president gets rid of them the better. Mr Zardari needs some saner counsel to understand that the people who thronged the long march led by Mian Nawaz Sharif also nurtured a strong anti-PPP sentiment. It was the people power that turned out to be the major factor in the reinstatement of the CJ and other deposed judges. And the same people power can now play a decisive role in the return of the PML-N rule in the Punjab. The president must be wary of the machinations of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat who fear losing more people to the Forward Bloc, which keeps consolidating its strength with the chances that it may have more members to its fold than the actual party. One can't help but laugh to hear from Ch Shujaat Hussain that politicians should refrain from indulging in horse-trading. Maybe he wants to make people forget how strongly Ch Pervaiz Elahi relied on this practice during his stint as CM, when political opponents were coerced into switching over to the government. The problem with the Chaudhry cousins is that, after being politically marginalised, they are trying everything to get back to power. It is for Mr Zardari to decide whether he has to tread the path of confrontation or make a fresh start for saving the democratic dispensation from destabilisation. If he goes for the second option he will have to shed the extra baggage he has been bequeathed by a despot. And he must also make sure that his grandstanding does not come in the way of his martyred wife's dream of making the Charter of Democracy the guiding principle of governance.