If Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif is blamed for not empowering his ministers he stands vindicated after Rana Sanaullah, best of the brains in his Cabinet, brought his government into disrepute by unleashing a personal attack on Governor Salman Taseer. The law minister, known for his disconcerting demeanour and commonplace talk, gave the ugliest of the ugly facelift to the Shahbaz government that is otherwise credited with practising good governance. Pity the poor guy. A day after brandishing in public the pictures of Governor Taseer's family he had to tender an apology on the floor of the House soon after Mian Shahbaz distanced himself from the mean act his law minister had committed during the chief's absence abroad. Not just that the chief minister directed his senior adviser Sardar Zulfikar Khosa to rush to Rahim Yar Khan where Mr Taseer was on a visit and apologise to him on his behalf. Little wonder if this damage - control exercise proves counterproductive to improve the already strained relations between the two coalition partners. The trust deficit between them is bound to accentuate in the days to come. The machinations of PPP's Senior Minister Raja Riaz, who is believed to be quietly hobnobbing with the 7-Club Road, cannot stand for long in the way of his party leadership's cherished desire of taking over the control of the Punjab. There would not be many to disagree that PPP leadership cannot have anyone better than Mr Taseer, the born again jiyala, as governor if it is to retrieve Punjab from the PML-N. The Sharif brothers with Damocles' Sword of disqualification hanging over their heads are being further unnerved by a governor who has obvious reason to be hostile towards them. The personal grudge that he has been nursing against the PML-N leadership for more than a decade and a half would constrain him not to spare any chance to settle scores with his bitter antagonists. This background must be kept in mind by those who keep blaming the Punjab Governor for being long on rhetoric and short on action. Less than six months after assuming power Mian Shahbaz largely revamped the health and education sectors and brought about an overall improvement in the public delivery system despite all odds stacked against him. It was the best he could do in adverse circumstances when a hostile governor would block the summaries of essential appointments, make belligerent remarks about the CM and threaten the civil servants with dire consequences if they dare defy his (unlawful) orders. Mian Shahbaz's dilemma is that in the absence of an efficient and competent political team he has to lean heavily on bureaucracy which is also not keeping pace with him when it comes to addressing public grievances. Some of his blue-eyed civil servants who resumed administrative duties after serving long stints in foreign banks and private sectors are still fine-tuning their abilities to understand the issues of governance. The Punjab Civil Secretariat currently in the look-busy-do-nothing mode is further impeding the process of executing the public welfare policies approved by the CM. Then it is the culture of throwing tantrums, which is compelling bright officers to get repatriated to the federal government. Some may, however, be resisting tempting offers from Islamabad. Among them surely would be one senior officer who can claim credit for extending intellectual support to the provincial administration. But if he is staying back it is not because he has any love lost for the CM but because he might be waiting for an appropriate time to edge his immediate boss - the incumbent chief secretary. And this bureaucrat not known for having political affiliation with any party might well be able to make to the top with the tacit backing of the Governor's House. But such a situation, if at all it arises, will work as a catalyst to destabilise the Punjab Government, which is being perceived as doing a tightrope walk to deliver on its promise of making Punjab a role model of good governance. Mian Shahbaz has already done a great deal in devising a framework to achieve the objective. Any attempt to dislodge him from power would surely push Punjab into the throes of corruption and lawlessness that had gripped the blighted province under the rule of Gujrati operators. E-mail: sarmad@nation.com.pk