The main political parties in the country, PPP and PML (N) have gone through a sea change. Take PPP, which came to power after languishing in the wilderness over decade with its leadership forced out of the country, has fully accepted the establishment a reality in the country's politics. As such it has aligned itself to the Establishment quite closely. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani seems to be enjoying the company of military's top brass. He never misses an opportunity to attend the army's briefing. Probably, he knows where the power lies. Hence, his effort to cultivate relations at that level. The party's top leadership on the other hand has struck a deal with the forces of Establishment with all the ups and down we all witnessed over the past couple of years The deal was ready for adoption during the life-time of Benazir Bhutto with international powers like US and UK fully contributing in it as its guarantors. It was the same deal, which brought her back home and subsequently her party to power, as claimed in some quarters, after a gap of more than a decade. After her premature and tragic exit from politics and this world, which no doubt was a national loss her husband Asif Zardari seized the deal with both hands, nudging it to its logical end. After February 18 elections, won by the PPP, we saw the deal being implemented every bit. All cases against Mr. Zardari, most of them were politically motivated, and those against Bhutto family are now a thing of past. The deal is now in the final stage of its implementation with the PPP bargaining with the forces that be for more powers for the prime minister. The PPP, exploiting the populist mood is trying to shift the pendulum of power towards prime minister and parliament. The package it seeks to pilot through the parliament will leave the president a mere figurehead, a Samson with his locks shorn. Zardari stirred hornet's nest by saying President Musharraf a relic of the past, a liability that the people want to get rid of. Apart from these histrionic, he is not ready to take any concrete action against the President, as if bound by the international deal. The PPP is not very forthcoming on the judges' issue, keeping her side of the deal, as it could bring harm to President. Instead, it has developed working relations with President when PML (N) looked the other way as far as Musharraf is concerned. The PPP's leadership is not interested in touching the figures representing the Establishment, which worked against the PPP in the past. Reconciliation is the mantra Zardari is repeating whenever he faces camera. Again, most of the PPP leaders calling shots are the ones who played important role in clinching the deal with the President and the forces of establishment for the reason being that they in present set up are acceptable to all sides. As such in some political circles, it is being perceived that the PPP is sitting in the lap of establishment. Originally, it was an-anti-establishment party. It was the one political force, which tried to rein in the establishment, military, civil bureaucracy and even judiciary. This is one reason why the PPP was unacceptable to military. Even its open, brash jiala culture was never liked by other political forces and Establishment. The PPP also suffered a lot at the hands of establishment. Again, interestingly, the PPP founded by Z.A. Bhutto was anti-US and anti-capitalist forces in its outlook. But all this has changed. Now US government is the main supporter of the PPP and Zardari too does not want to annoy them. The changes in the PPP have been driven by power politics. There is a realisation at the top that capturing power and sustaining it too without the support of Establishment is not possible. On the other hand, PML (N), another popular party, has taken a very hard lined stance against the forces of Establishment. Nawaz Sharif's best mentors were all military generals under whose shadow he started his politics. Much if his meteoric rise was also owed to the wheeling and dealing sponsored by the Establishment. But now he has taken a very bold stand against the establishment after his bitter experience with Musharraf. It will be interesting to see how the changes in these two main parties work out in the future for them-whether they drive them closer to power or away from it. E-mail: