WHILE the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has declared that no clash of institutions was possible, Prime Minister Yousaf Reza Gilani has told Parliament that the Supreme Court's NRO judgement needed interpretation, which only the Court could do. While deliberating on the case of promotions to BPS 22, Mr Justice Chaudhry remarked, while addressing the counsel for the Federation, that there would be no clash among institutions. He also said that the Supreme Court would defend the parliamentary system, and strengthen democracy. Mr Gilani's response, contained in his address to Parliament, was that the President had immunity under the Constitution, and if anyone wanted a clarification, they were free to go to the Supreme Court. In short, the Chief Justice had given the assurance that the system would not be toppled, as was being busily propagated by PPP cadres as a consequence of the striking down of the NRO. But the PM had declared that the government was insisting on its view, and was challenging those who view with distaste the ending of all cases under the NRO, including corruption cases, to go again to the Supreme Court for a ruling on the presidential immunity that is claimed. The Supreme Court had ordered Mr Gilani's government to prosecute the cases, which included money laundering cases against the President. Mr Gilani was trying to explain why his government was delaying the prosecution of the President. He did not mention that the President had handpicked him to head the government. The government has obviously chosen the path of confrontation, or rather of not obeying the orders of the Supreme Court, just so that it may continue to provide protection to the President. If it was facing genuine difficulties over the prosecution, it would itself go to the Supreme Court, but it has left this to anyone else, choosing instead to use the immunity argument to protect itself and continue to defy the Supreme Court's orders. At the same time, it has Mr Gilani to proclaim, not just to Parliament, but wherever he can, that the Court is being obeyed. If a party other than the government goes to the Supreme Court, it could raise the question of the conduct of the government, which itself includes ministers affected by the judgement. If those affected are not willing to resign from whatever positions they hold, including the Presidency if need be, until their names are cleared, Mr Gilani's government should prosecute the affectees with full vigour, instead of seeking excuses, and rely on the Chief Justice's assurance that the system will not be derailed.