Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that he would withdraw the letter written by the then Attorney General, Malik Qayyum, to the Swiss authorities, and thus leave it to the Swiss authorities to reopen the corruption cases against President Asif Zardari. The Bench hearing the contempt case adjourned to Tuesday next, September 25. It has also asked to see the draft of the letter, to be sent by Law Minister Farooq Naek. If indeed the letter is to be sent, the country will experience a sense of relief and a sense of wonder. The relief will be at the end of the prospect of a confrontation between the government and the judiciary, that the Executive finally behaved responsibly and decided to implement the court’s judgement in the NRO case, of which only one item was the writing to inform the Swiss authorities that the NRO had been struck down. The sense of wonder is provoked by the idea that if the government indeed was to write to the Swiss authorities, what was the need of all its previous manoeuvres, which included allowing the dismissal of a Prime Minister.It must be noted that, welcome as the government’s present flexibility is, it represents a retreat from its original position that no letter could be written which could detract from the President’s constitutionally granted immunity. It is not just that it has abandoned this position, but it has also given up all the positions it found itself taking, most notably its presentation of itself as an alternative to the Supreme Court as the final authority in interpreting the Constitution. Such a moderating of its position, while a corollary of its new stance, can only be welcome for all right-thinking citizens who feared a clash on this very point. Clearly, within the government, someone realised the danger of a clash with the judiciary. However, such has been the vacillation of the government before, that it should forgive the many people who will only believe the matter is over when the Supreme Court approves the draft, and the letter is duly written. That may be behind the bench’s apparently routine direction that the reply of the Swiss Attorney General be placed before it. Perhaps another factor in the government’s decision has been the desire of the PPP to complete its tenure. A further attempt to protect the President would have merely meant that the present Prime Minister would have lost office, and a general election precipitated. Though both the Prime Minister and the government’s allies, which had met him and the President the night before the hearing at the Presidency, would not favour the cutting short of the tenure, the decision had to be the President’s. The only question is: what took him so long? Both as the head of the party forming the government, and as the country’s head of state, not to mention the person directly affected by the writing of the letter, there was only one course open to him, one which should have been adopted much earlier, of obedience of the Court.