THANKS to the failure of the PPP and PML(N) leadership to resolve their differences, President Musharraf is not only out of hibernation but also on the front foot again. While he has been holding meetings with the PML(Q) and MQM leaders in the past also, these are more frequent now and the tone of the statements by the PML(Q) leaders issued subsequently has become more strident. According to a report the President expressed dismay over the economic situation in a meeting of the sort on Thursday and encouraged the PML(Q) to act as an aggressive opposition and launch a countrywide movement to highlight the failure of the ruling coalition. He is reported to have said he would not tolerate what he called the ongoing political turmoil and economic instability and could use his constitutional powers to send the government home. The economic situation in the country is no doubt grave. It has taken a particularly serious turn after the recently announced extraordinary rise in petroleum prices. The prices of food items continue to rise and there are also reports of shortages. Similarly, increase in transport fares, the latest in those of Railway, have added to the sufferings of the common man. The statement by Minister of Power Raja Pervez Ashraf regarding increase in power charges from August 15 would be another addition to the miseries of the people. While the government has to do all it can to improve the situation, most of these problems have not been created by its policies but have been inherited from the PML(Q)-led government. It would be unjust under the circumstances to put all blame on the ruling coalition, which has hardly been in power for four months. While there is widespread dismay over the worsening economic situation there is as such no political turmoil in the country. Much as they would like the administration to resolve their problems, people who voted for the coalition parties continue to support them as the results of the by-elections would bear out. The lawyers no doubt continue to hold countrywide protests, boycott courts and stage sit-ins and have vowed to initiate an agitation if judges are not restored by the August 14. The issue could have been resolved long ago if the President had not acted as a stumbling block in the way of their restoration. Meanwhile one opinion survey after another conducted by independent foreign agencies indicates that the vast majority of the people want President Musharraf to quit. Instead of turning the Presidency into a centre for conspiracies, as claimed by the opposition, there is a need on his part to respect the popular sentiment. Once he resigns, the ruling coalition would be able to work with greater unity and attend to its duties with full concentration.