THE contentious clause in the Finance Bill increasing the number of Supreme Court judges from 19 to 29 was sure to raise some hot debate. Of all the sides opposing it, no one had been more vocal than PML (N). The expansion was, quite obviously though not explicitly stated in the bill, meant to accommodate both the PCO and the deposed judges. Yet, somehow, this deliberately left vague nature of the document seemed to have wrong footed the PML (N). On the one hand, the National Assembly with its consent approved the Finance Bill, and on the other there is the party's top brass saying that it was never in support of the Supreme Court's expansion. Its Secretary General Iqbal Zafar Jhagra later clarified that Mian Nawaz Sharif had opposed this move by the PPP and had asked his party legislators to oppose it. This indicates that there has been some confusion within the PML (N) since the bill had already been passed in the house. However, it is hoped that the party would be more cautious in future because at the pace at which the political landscape is getting complicated, there is little room for negligence of the sort.   Except for this exception perhaps, the PML(N) had been very clear about its stance over the PCO judges. No doubt, it was at a later stage of the negotiations, the party leadership registered its opposition to any move that would retain the PCO judges on the ground that it would indemnify the November 3 unconstitutional acts of President Musharraf. Likewise, its position on impeaching the President has been pretty much transparent. From day one, it has been trying to muster support to show him the door. Having said that, the need of the time is that the PML (N) displays realism, without any sings of fissures in the party. Though the party's opposition to the 29 judges is understandable, the focus should have been on getting the deposed judges back on the bench. Neither more nor less. It is worth pointing out that the issue of the PCO judges became a bone of contention only at a later stage. The Murree Declaration did not specifically talked about their position once the deposed judges had been restored. If the party has raised the point only to use it as a bargaining chip, it is going to make matters worse and further delay the restoration. In the same vein, SCBA President Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan in an interview with a private TV channel on the issue of SC expansion said that if the deposed judges agreed to the proposed move, the matter would stand settled and the legal fraternity would not object to it.