Nawaz Sharif finally declared war mainly on the PPP, though he opened more fronts than he would have liked to. This was the instant reaction emanated from the political circles right after his much-awaited announcement to take part in the lawyers' sit-in and subsequently his no hold barred speech before the party's General Council meeting. It is the very General Council which Nawaz called to hold a threadbare discussion whether his party could afford to go into the lawyers' long march given the PPP's strong reservations. But most surprisingly, Nawaz made the decision and announced it too over and above the council when a high-powered lawyers' delegation came to see him at Raiwind, showing how political leaders take their decision while boosting their democratic credentials. Even more surprising is the timing of the announcement. It was all goodie goodie between the PPP and PML (N) before Nawaz decided to take on the PPP government. His party men along with PPP leaders negotiated a compromised formula for the Senate elections, enabling the Senate candidates to be elected unopposed in a move the political observers thought would create a greater political harmony in the country. But the very next moment, Nawaz spoiled the so-called harmony created during Senate election, delivering a very critical speech against the PPP, even blaming Zardari as being the main force behind efforts to challenge his eligibility. After these stunning announcements that were made in more sentimental fashion by the PML (N) Quaid, there is hardly any doubt that he has taken the ultimate decision to chart a new course minus the PPP. Nawaz as we al know will do everything under the Sun to make the Lawyers's sit-in a success story. He even asked his party men and before that the lawyers to ensure the sit-in this time turns out to be eventful and successful in achieving its goals. He even urged the lawyers to go an extra mile if need be for the reinstatement of Ch. Iftikhar. Nawaz was in a fix for sometime what to do; whether to take part in the lawyers' movement or not in view of his political interests in the Punjab and given the sensitivities of the PPP vis--vis lawyers' issue. The PML (N) leaders even complained openly that lawyers did not consult them before giving the schedule of the march. They declared their participation in the sit-in quite impossible saying it will be against the parliamentary norms to stage protest or sit-in when you are the members of the parliament in great numbers. The sudden about face on the part of PML (N) created uncertainty whether the PML (N), the biggest political supporters of Lawyers movement would be at the back of lawyers in these crunch moments. The uncertainty persisted for a while when came the salvo one after the other from Nawaz clearing the haze in one go, but complicating the political climate within no time From the PPP first one to confront Nawaz was none other than former Punjab Chief Minister Manzoor Wattoo. He without mincing words stated the other day that if the PML (N) decided to support and take part in the sit-in then the PPP is also free to have second thoughts about political arrangement in the Punjab. Then came Qasim Zia, asking Nawaz Sharif as to who is stopping him from lodging a complaint against Pervez Musharraf in the Punjab where his brother is the Chief Minister. He asked Nawaz Sharif to stop grandstanding on the issue. Already, PPP leaders from the Punjab are speaking up against the PML (N) leadership and their political tactics. First, it was Punjab Governor, the lone ranger, all alone holding up the banner against the Sharifs from the PPP. Now more and more PPP leaders from the Punjab are joining his bandwagon, making the confrontation between the two sides a serious stuff and different from the past. No wonder Nawaz Sharif had little choices, especially after taking an extreme position on the judges' issue before the elections. Any backtracking on his part could have ruined his political fortunes. This was not acceptable to Nawaz Sharif who had his own political calculations with his eyes set on an early election. After all Nawaz found no future whatsoever for himself in the present PPP-led dispensation. Hence, his move to join the long march which too sounds like a great gamble. What if Nawaz's calculations do not come true? And if they do, who will be the gainer if the situation slips out of control of the political forces. But the saner elements suggest that he could have gained in stature had he served as a bridge between the lawyers and government instead of fanning differences between the two. They believed that Nawaz was most suitable person to act as a bridge between the two sides. Since the advent of a new democratic set up and change of lawyers' leadership, no efforts have been made to engage the government to find a negotiated settlement of the problem except issuing threats. Similarly, no effort has been put in place either to engage Zardari. The PPP leaders claim that Zardari is flexible on this issue, but he does not want the PML (N) to reap the gains of any such move. Probably, egos from both sides are hedging in a negotiated settlement. E-mail: nadeemsyed@nation.com.pk