The Mian brothers of Raiwind are caught in a Catch-22 situation, caught in the midst of their own conflicts of minds and principles.

Of these positions, some are based on their perceived fears of another military intervention, some necessitated by the political compulsion of not allowing Zardari to trample upon them in the Punjab, some caused by their own declarations about politics of principles and some based on compromises they have to make to run their government in the Punjab.

Their dilemma is complex and not an easy one to resolve. If they go all out against Zardari, they think the military camel will again get the chance to put its neck in the political tent, ultimately driving out the genuine residents into a hot desert sun.

If they do not stop Zardari & Co from the massive plundering of state institutions and misuse of political authority, they run the risk of being left out and have to face the genuine criticism of being the friendly opposition, with the PPP running away with everything.

If they push their principles too far, specially on the fake degrees issue, the PML-N gets the biggest hit in the Punjab with the likelihood of the Shahbaz government falling, thus, giving Zardari another golden opportunity to manipulate the situation in his favour and install an interim government or the Governor’s rule for a long politically uncomfortable or even damaging period.

(The example of the PPP tricking the MQM into dissolving the local bodies on the promise of early elections and then walking away from the scene, leaving Altaf Hussain in a similar quandary is too recent to be forgotten.)

If the Mian brothers do not stop Zardari, Babar Awan & Associates from confronting and ultimately subjugating the Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, they run the risk of being called spineless cowards who ran their election campaign for the restoration and independence of the judges and capitalised on the issue to the hilt, but when the crunch came, they chickened out to save their government in the Punjab.

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