One would always find it difficult to beat Dr Baber Awan when it comes to arguing a weak case strongly. The man knows the art of defending the indefensible and sounds magical even when he makes his audience glance through the bright side of the National Reconciliation Ordinance or justifies his leadership's decision to refer to the United Nations the enquiry into Benazir Bhutto's assassination rather than assigning the investigation of this case to one of the government agencies. In a spellbinding address on the occasion of Ms Bhutto's 56th birthday at a packed-to-capacity Aiwan-i-Iqbal he said everything the audience wanted to hear from him. Every single word that he uttered was received with a resounding applause. But what he surely would have valued the most was a quieter appreciation from the presidency. It was an acknowledgement from the unassuming leadership lacking the charisma to carry forward the legacy of its slain chairperson. Dr Awan's point was well taken that the politicians who try to get back into power through deals are not given the rousing welcome the sort of which Ms Bhutto was accorded on her return from a prolonged exile abroad in September 2007. But that doesn't mean there was no downside to the NRO. It will continue to be questioned. No matter what they say the beneficiaries will have to do a lot of explaining to prove that the controversial ordinance had nothing to do with their rise to power. There is no denying that despite being aware of the fact that their leader was returning home after striking a deal with General Musharraf - courtesy the world powers - the diehard PPP workers turned into millions to welcome her. It was then to their credit that they simply ignore the harsh realities of power politics when it comes to demonstrating their loyalty to their leadership. They would never want to tax their patience by questioning any of its act. Pointing a finger at their leadership and yet identifying oneself as a Bhutto lover goes against the jiyala culture. Perhaps Dr Awan got slightly carried away by the loyalty factor and failed to elaborate the actual theme that the arrangement under which Ms Bhutto returned home was aimed at providing an exit strategy to the army to withdraw Musharraf from power. This obviously was meant to restore democracy and provide respite to the people who had been subjected to the most repressive rule for about a decade. It's not just that the deal struck by Ms Bhutto has returned the country to a civilian rule now being ruled by her own party, but it also brought the Sharifs back home. Groomed into politics by her illustrious father, Ms Bhutto, who had he singular distinction of becoming the first woman prime minister of any Islamic country had already proved her mettle by bringing her party into power twice. But her latest period in exile changed her attitude towards politics. She had realised that adherence to the principle of co-existence and respecting the mandate of other political parties would go a long way towards strengthening democracy and keeping those nursing Bonapartist tendencies from playing havoc with the system over and over again. It was this feeling, which formed the basis for the signing of the Charter of Democracy. The two mainstream parties pledged not to seek the help of the GHQ ever in future to dislodge each other from power. The historic document that contained solution to all problems that had been preventing the country from becoming a democratic polity in true sense of the word, be it the reforms to ensure independence of the judiciary or the measures to repeal the draconian amendments made in the constitution in the past as a part of the plan to restore its federal parliamentary character. Is it not a pity that after BB's assassination her party tried to wriggle out of this Charter? Ms Bhutto is no longer around but she continues to guide her workers' emotions. The Zinda-hai-Bibi-zinda-hai slogans at the jampacked auditorium gave the feel of affection they still have for her. But deep down they are broke; for them, it is disturbing to find their leadership having done nothing to investigate BB's murder despite being in power for more than a year. That they do not question does not mean they endorse the government's decision to have the case probed through the UN. In the deafening silence one can hear them chant: Bibi hum sharminda hein, terey qatil zinda hein. E-mail: