The defence of democracy is a laudable resolve, indeed; and for that the Troika - the President, the Prime Minister and the Army Chief - which met at Islamabad on Monday, merits great appreciation. The point, however, is, were the system functioning smoothly, unalloyed with charges of corruption, mismanagement and subservience to foreign powers, there would have been no reason for the main players in the power structure to get together and announce that they would defend and protect it and all issues would be settled in accordance with the Constitution. Nor was there a need for any leader to assert that the present government would complete its five-year term. Yet, Mr Gilani reiterated it on Monday for the umpteenth time, and Mr Zardari and the rest of the political lot, both of the ruling parties and others, have been on record having maintained so repeatedly. The truth, however, is that there is no better way of getting over the nagging fear of our political circles that some force is on the lookout for an opportunity to poach on their domain than performance that demonstrates their commitment to addressing the concerns of the people and eschewing any wish to serve their own personal interests. Unfortunately, the situation today is just the reverse, and the common mans problems - his basic needs of food, clothing, education, health, and so on - appear to be of little concern to the leadership. They keep festering and getting worse, while the rulers preoccupation is to protect their seats of power to promote their own causes. Although, since the Prime Ministers call on the floor of the Senate to the NRO-tainted functionaries to voluntarily give up their official positions, one had been expecting a flood of resignations, there has been not any. It is hoped that the reported decision at the Troika meeting to get rid of these elements would be implemented without any discrimination. But the Troikas agreement on presidential immunity hardly makes any sense, since the privilege of making a decision on this issue belongs to the Supreme Court. Apart from cleaning the mess by removing the bad eggs, it is necessary for the strengthening of the democratic system to respect the court verdicts, without any reservation. While urging the government to obey these orders, PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif has warned against an anti-democracy flood, which might occur if judicial decisions and the rule of law were not followed, in line with the fundamental principles of a democratic order. Only through rule of law could our nascent democracy be put on a sound footing and also prevent any destabilising situation to emerge. Mere declarations, as made at a PPP parliamentarians meeting chaired jointly by the President and the Prime Minister, that the PPP does not want clash of institutions, are not enough