A report quoting sources close to the concerned quarters has revealed an unseemly reality, that the President and the Prime Minister, though belonging to the same political party, are not pulling on well with each other. It relates various instances about the existence of friction like the absence of a full-fledged principal secretary of the PM after the incumbent had left, forced by certain 'circumstances'. Differences are also underlined in the dispute about who should head the National Finance Commission, President Zardari's assumption of the PM's prerogative of chairing certain meetings, issuing instructions to bureaucrats, choosing to invite the British PM to dinner and the PM's handling of the Mumbai crisis. It is an unfortunate fact of the country's political history that President-PM tension has existed at various times when Presidents, constitutionally figureheads, could not resist the temptation of appropriating powers that belonged to Prime Ministers. The bickering was most pronounced during President Zia's regime, resulting in the dismissal of his handpicked Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo. Zia's wish to have a docile PM met with a rude shock when Mr Junejo began asserting his democratic authority, rather than ceding it to Gen Zia. During the latter times of Ghulam Ishaq and Farooq Leghari, palace intrigues led to the Benazir-Nawaz game of musical chairs. The rubberstamp prime ministership of Shaukat Aziz and the rubberstamp position of Parliament during the Musharraf era is too recent an occurrence to need repeating in detail. And the legacy has passed on to the present set-up. The story of centre-province tension is almost similar. In the latest example of the tussle between Punjab and the federation, a PPP leader has threatened the sacking of the Mian Shahbaz government in Punjab unless his party gets a due share in governance. It is a pity that our political leadership has failed to deduce the right lesson from the unambiguous evidence of grievous harm, that turning away from the correct constitutional path has done to the country. Tussle between these two high offices is always damaging, the more so at this critical juncture when India is raising the spectre of war and democracy is yet nascent after Musharraf's exit. The public is increasingly disillusioned with the government performance that includes its inaction, in violation of its commitments, about doing away with the Constitutional changes made by the previous one-man rule. It is time the PPP-led government set about getting rid of these amendments and restoring a truly federal parliamentary system where the Prime Minister is the chief executive.