The nature and extent of the problems that Pakistan is beset with are of an unprecedented kind. It appears as if the country is at the epicentre of international attention and concern and multifarious initiatives are afoot under the aegis of numerous states and international bodies to tackle the growing threat apparently emanating from cinders of extremism located and functioning within the geographical limits of Pakistan. The outlook is, indeed, grim for the country as its leadership is repeatedly caught napping in the face of the threat that is growing at a menacing pace. While the sabre rattling from across the border may have dimmed a little, Pakistan seems to have lost opportunities since the Mumbai attacks to assert its political will before the international community. Confronted with a barrage of hostile and often jingoistic outpouring of invectives from various echelons of the Indian leadership, fully supported and orchestrated by its media and allies and friends from across the globe, most notably the United States of America and the United Kingdom, our leadership has persisted in playing on the back foot, maintaining an apologetic stance that is at variance to the need of asserting its national interest and principled stance. There has also been a visible manifestation of ambivalence of positions taken as also of those once taken and later revered in the face of opposition from other pillars of the state, or a realisation of having blundered in the original instance. These are not the ideal ingredients that make for national leadership particularly amidst a grim and threatening environment that prevails in the country today. On top of that, there is also a concerted effort underway on the part of the misruling political leadership to provoke various organs of the state to a confrontational mould, thus minimising their potential to help in the evolution of a coherent national strategy and mechanism to tackle the emerging threat. Apparently, this is being done with the Machiavellian intent of sapping the national morale and enterprise to rise up to the evolving challenge. The question is: is this mere foolhardiness, or is there a devious and devilish method to the all-pervading madness? On the face of it, sitting atop an administration that was conceived and hoisted on the wobbly pillars of an illegal and unconstitutional embrace with the former dictator, the PPP leadership finds itself shorn of any legitimate and credible option to forge national consensus and develop a vibrant and pro-active national policy to move along. Most of its time and energy are being wasted in prolonging the illegal edifice which entails the need to keep various institutions of the state at loggerheads with one another. Thus you have a judiciary that is questioning the supremacy of the Parliament and a legislature that is literally begging to be heard. You have a standing committee of the National Assembly whose working is being continually sabotaged by exploiting various lacunae that may or may not be there in the constitution. You have increasingly visible signs of an effort to gag the media and keep it away from where the fires may be burning. You have a coterie of the unelected members of the government parroting inane and counter-productive stances that get blown away in the face of a reality check. You have a potpourri of half truths that are doing the rounds, further jeopardising the national potential and prospect of building a viable and effective counter to the unfurling of a venomously antagonistic onslaught from an ever-increasing number of quarters. In the midst of this unimaginable mess, the PPP leadership sits sanguine in its assumption that it has every one fighting and that no one would have the time to pay any attention to its numerous debilitating limitations and the dreadful prospects that it has thrown up for the country as an inalienable accompaniment to its paranoia to hang on to power and its meaty rewards. The Parliament may hang in limbo. The judiciary can pack up fighting the battle of the illegal graft of extra marks for its chief justice's daughter. The people can go jump in a lake looking for their fleeting morsels. The ruling concoction is increasingly forfeiting its responsibility of defending the national sovereignty and honour at the altar of a right to power as a consequence of its complicity with a former dictator and the deceit of the international powers to hoist it to garner the fate of this hapless country. The light at the end of the tunnel is a bottomless void with no climbing out. Practically every one around is incensed at the loathsomely consummate murky scene around, growing ever so uglier by the day. Of special significance is the recent International Republican Institute (IRI) survey that quoted 88 percent of a sample of the national population as saying that we were not on the right track. The so-called popularity graph of the PPP leadership has also slumped to an all-time low while the opposition leadership has gained important points in the last six months. The functionaries of the government counter with the unrepresentative nature of the survey making tall claims of their persisting, as a matter of fact, growing popularity, but the bulk of the people are simply aghast at the audacity of this assumption. There are mixed feelings about the role of the army, but I must concede that they are not as overtly negative as they used to be less than a year ago. Such are the wands of magic that a corrupt band of politicians can weave in a short spell of time. In the presence of a predominant feeling against direct army intervention, what is the course to remedy the growing disaffection with the myopic political leadership, so fastidiously hoisted upon us? People keep reverting to discussing the critical role that the judiciary and the civil society need to play, preferably in tandem, to reverse the damaging tide. In preference to a military coup, they warm up to the prospect of a judicial coup to cleanse the system and eliminate the contradictions that are gnawing the prospects of the emergence of a credible, non-violent, progressive and functional society that would be at peace with itself, and with those around it. The judicial injunction of the 7-member bench of the Supreme Court delivered on November 2 remains a document that could herald the advent of a truly democratic polity in the country. After all, the current dispensation was only tailored to stand on the illegal and unconstitutional legs of a dictator's proclamation that would be blown away in the face of a democratic movement enshrined in the enduring principles of the supremacy of the constitution and the primacy of the rule of law. Shall we live to see the marvel unravel? The writer is an independent political analyst based in Islamabad E-mail: