The JUI-F and ANP leadership asked to workout a formula acceptable to the PML-N and PPP in respect of the judges restoration issue in 72 hours expired on Saturday. As I write this article, PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif has given PPP a deadline till Monday for restoration of the judges. According to the latest reports he has asked PPP to tell him by tonight whether the judges will be restored day after tomorrow. The details need not be repeated. Like the past three deadlines, the fourth deadline (that was till Wednesday) had also been digested in the best national interest by the PML-N leadership. However, the new deadline provides the hope that the judges shall finally be restored as per the following commitment by the other three members of the ruling coalition. Hopefully, the much-awaited final stage shall be set for the deposed judges to resume their respective November 3 position. According to the PML-N leadership the 'minus one formula' is buried for good and consequently Chief Justice lftikhar Chaudhry shall also assume his exalted office. Whereas the PPP co chairperson has chosen to be silent on some crucial aspects of the restoration, however previously a leading minister of the PPP government, Khurshid Shah, and one of the key negotiators of the compromise formula namely Maulana Fazalur Rehman have openly expressed the view that any rigidity adherence to time frame is not as important as the spirit of the restoration formula. The key issue is not any particular date or deadline but the agreement of both major partners of the ruling alliance namely PPP and PML-N that the present ruling coalition shall not be allowed to be fractured under any circumstances, whatever the nature of the differences between the two leaderships. Zardari and Nawaz, both firmly believe that the break-up of the ruling coalition at the present critical juncture of Pakistan's history can prove disastrous, both from the point of view of the blossoming of democracy as well as posing a grave threat to the survival of the Federation. In short, any decision leading to the breaking up of the ruling coalition shall be a mistake. The undisputed lesson of history is that strategic blunders cannot be rectified for a long time. History is full of examples of nations paying a very heavy price for strategic blunders made by unwise, if not foolish, leadership. This is not a very healthy message of hope to the bewildered nation which was expecting a new dawn of democracy after the February 18, 2008 election and more so after the resignation of Musharraf who was portrayed by one and sundry as the source of all that is faced by the nation. Without going into the internal and external challenges facing Pakistan, which may be described as unprecedented in our history, Pakistan is all set to elect a new president. This needs a national consensus. Furthermore, the lawyers seem to be in no mood to wait for the ultimate success or failure of the compromise formula. As if this was not enough the ongoing military operation in Bajaur and Swat compounded by the insurgency in Khurram Agency and Waziristan makes an already bad situation worst confounded. Is that all? No sir As Shakespeare said, "One woe doth tread upon another's heel," terrorism is taking its gravest toll in almost daily suicide bomb attacks in various parts of the country. May I dare say to our political leadership, inside and outside the parliament, in all humbleness, "Sir we are in a state of war against an invisible and unidentified enemy within and beyond our borders. And this is happening at a critical time when our economy is sliding rapidly downwards. I need not list the food and oil shortage, unemployment and rising cost of living white industry is touching a dangerous point of shutting down due to power shortage. The average citizen feels insecure to say the least. Sir, time is running out for you all to sit-down together and without losing a moment, please give the nation a new road map of your future strategy to pull the people of Pakistan out of the present state which cannot endure for an indefinite period. Let us for God's sake give up the dangerous ongoing game of brinkmanship to score our points against our political opponents. When ones house is on fire you look for a fire brigade as your top priority and the rest of the problems can wait. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum E-mail: ikramullah@nation.com.pk