The US interests in Pakistan are particularly defined in the framework of War on Terror. The US support for a democratic process is a part of its broad strategic conception. Moving away from Musharraf-specific policy is based on the following reasons. One, the US realised that the president's popularity at home was on a decline for multiple reasons. Two, a class of politicians has assured the US that given the opportunity they could deliver better on the War. So, the US idea is that democracy in Pakistan could provide the much-needed political backup to the war efforts in the region. Keeping in view its strategic objectives, the US extends a qualified support to Pakistan's democratic transition. It means that the US has not left all to be settled through a democratic process. Of course we cannot be trusted with an unqualified democracy. Therefore, the contours of democracy are being defined by the US. It wants the president to carry on as a visible symbol of continuity of Pakistan's anti-terror policy. It wants the elected government to compensate for his legitimacy and popularity deficit. After eight years of rule, the president has gone deeply unpopular. Now, it is too costly to associate with him politically. Even a most sympathetic commentator could say that his negative image is merely popular misperceptions. But the problem is that in politics sustained misperceptions do bite just like perceptions. So, presently, the most popular (mis) perception in the country is that as long as he is around, the political system cannot be stabilised. Contrary to these public perceptions, the US officials seem busy in manoeuvres to keep the general (retd) in the presidency. Seemingly, they also want to avert the reinstatement of the judges against the persistent demand of lawyers, civil society and the people. The US, Musharraf and Zardari appear to believe that the PPP's popular support base provides them enough room to manipulate. But it would be a colossal mistake to keep defying the will of the people. Such politicking would rather hurt the vital interests of the practitioners as well. On the one hand, it would further fuel the anti-American sentiments in Pakistan. On the other hand, it could cause an irrevocable damage to the image and support base of the PPP. Consequently, the political space now available to the mainstream moderate forces would shrink. This could open up of the floodgates to extremist forces to the political arena. Unfortunately, the US policy makers seem oblivious to the reasons of the president's unpopularity. First, in the context of anti-American feelings, Musharraf's close association with the Bush administration has tainted his image. Second, the president's action against the higher judiciary followed by an unprecedented lawyers movement has left a deep imprint on the public psyche. There was a widespread revulsion occasioned by his actions against the judiciary. The same disapproval got reflected in an anti-Musharraf vote in the February 18 elections. The US obsession with the War has already inflicted great damage to our society. Perhaps they did not realise that their open support for BB exposed her to the fatal attack costing her life. Now their public approval for Zardari and disapproval for Nawaz would cause damage to the PPP and body politic of the country. Only a few days ago, the US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said, "Nawaz Sharif needs to be watched." The way the US wants to tune up the politics of Pakistan puts the PPP in a politically awkward position. The attempts to exclude the PML-N are likely to backfire. Because, pushing Nawaz away from the Centre could bring him closer to the religious right. The PPP needs to realise that keeping Nawaz in the mainstream is in its own political interest. Parting of the ways would radicalise the PML-N position and consensus building would become even more evasive. The intense polarisation in the country would also jeopardise the PPP's capability to govern the country. Democracy still can be our best bet but only if it is given a chance to take its own course. The people of Pakistan have demonstrated their political wisdom by rejecting the military-mullah alliance. The key actors of Pakistani politics must respect the peoples' mandate. First, US - the self-proclaimed beacon of democracy in the world - should acknowledge that its attempts to micromanage the politics of Pakistan contradict the democratic principles. Such efforts would further alienate the people and reinforce anti-Americanism in the country. Second, the PPP should not take its popular support for granted; it cannot afford to flout the public mandate. Finally, the president should shed his notion of indispensability and accept the people's verdict. By quitting the political scene he can offer a great service for this nation.