YET another somersault. The PPP is now having second thoughts over its relationship with the PML(N) following the break-up of the coalition and wants rather desperately the party back in its fold. Yet the reason for this sudden longing for the PML(N) appears to be nothing but the presidential race. According to sources, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, in a telephone conversation with Mian Nawaz Sharif, had pressed him to withdraw Justice (retd) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui from the race and rejoin the coalition. While making these requests, Mr Zardari made certain promises: all the judges including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would be restored and the 17th amendment would be repealed. Although Mian Nawaz was rather cautious in his feedback, saying it was impossible for him to pull his candidate out, his lieutenant Kh Asif categorically ruled out the possibility of the PML(N) rejoining the coalition. At the same time nonetheless, the PPP is also hobnobbing with the PML(Q) to garner support for Mr Zardari. One cannot help but take Mr Zardari's assurances at their face value. Not long ago he had himself commented that there were no promises in politics and that pacts, while referring to the Murree Declaration, were not holy scriptures. In the backdrop of the abovementioned dramatic scenario, it appears that this change of heart on the PPP's part is aimed only at elevating its leader to the coveted slot. Considering the party's performance so far, it has nothing much to offer except forcing General Musharraf to resign. Its promise to resolve the judicial crisis remains unfulfilled to this day. One fears that even if some sort of understanding is reached between the two parties, the judges' issue will remain unaddressed and there will also be little likelihood of the removal of the proverbial sword of Damocles Article 58(2b). Recent statements aired by Law Minister Farooq Naek regarding the judicial mess, are neither encouraging, nor do they affirm the government's sincerity to end the stalemate. At present, the piecemeal approach of restoring the judges is only aggravating the crisis. Mr Naek's observation that Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar's status as Chief Justice would remain intact even after the reinstatement of the judges, was categorically rejected by the PML(N) as well as legal activists. If Mr Zardari really means what he is saying at present, he should be seeing to it that all the judges are immediately restored to their November 2 position. Unless that happens the differences between the two mainstream parties will persist.