AFTER numerous meetings that failed to produce an action plan the APDM has finally given a deadline to the government till August 31 to accept its demands, failing which it would issue a call for a countrywide shutter-down on September 1. Foremost among their demands is the restoration of deposed judges and the impeachment of the President. The alliance, which boycotted the elections on the issue of the judges' restoration, has waited for nearly five months before issuing the warning. There is a perception that the government has kept the two issues hanging for too long, which has created a division within the coalition government, badly affected its efficiency and considerably diminished the goodwill it had initially enjoyed. Those in government circles, who thought the people were too engrossed in economic issues and would soon forget these issues, would do well to reconsider their view. As the reception accorded to the deposed Chief Justice in the country's major towns, including Karachi, would indicate that the matter is still capable of pulling huge crowds. Despite the government's attempts to create a rift among the deposed judges, they continue to stand behind Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Similarly, the government has failed to wean away the lawyers' community from him. The SCBA has given August 14 as the final date for the restoration of the judges, failing which it has threatened to launch a big movement. The patience of the PML(N), which has so far abided by its pledge not to destabilize the government, too is running short. Mian Nawaz Sharif has written a letter to Mr Zardari on the issue and says the time has come for final talks with the PPP leader. The PML(N)'s exasperation is understandable as the party had raised the issue of the restoration of judges as its major election plank. The APDM draws its strength mainly from the nationalist parties in smaller provinces and the Jamaat-e-Islami in Punjab. On its own, the alliance might not be in a position to enforce a countywide shutter-down, though on account of the peculiar situation in Balochistan its call is likely to receive province-wide support. The scenario would however undergo a profound change in case the PML(N) was to join the alliance at some time in future. The APDM would in that case turn into a viable and fairly strong opposition. The PPP leadership is still in a position to keep the alliance together that alone can ensure a stable coalition. For this it has to urgently resolve the issues of restoration and impeachment. The country cannot afford agitations.