PRIME Minister Gilani has once again sheltered behind the rhetoric of democracy to evade the serious issues of corruption and fraud that are increasingly coming to light amongst the ruling elite. He also seems to have got the order of things backward when he says that the independence of the media and judiciary depends largely on a strong and stable democracy. Actually, one cannot have the latter without an independent media and judiciary - so strong democracy depends on the strong foundations of an independent judiciary and media. He is also wrong to insinuate that somehow pursuit of the corrupt and those indulging in fraud - which is what the fake degrees issue is all about - is a conspiracy against democracy. In fact, even mid -term or early polls are a recognised part of parliamentary democracy. However, so far the government merely fears a situation whereby it may be compelled to go for mid-term polls - because it does recognise its own shortcomings and the growing revelations of corruption within its ranks. Unfortunately, instead of seeking to deal with the real problem the government continues to seek cover-ups, alongside monetary handouts which are little more than brazen bribes. And when the issues refuse to go away, charges of derailment of democracy are hurled across. Now an insidious campaign to muzzle especially the electronic media is also believed to be afoot through private member bills. At the same time, the main opposition party, the PML-N has not yet confronted the government squarely on these issues - apart from the periodic declaratory statement that comes from the leadership- especially the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar. He has once again warned President Zardari against making disrespectful statements. Ch Nisar has correctly stated that the President has not understood the dignity of his Office. Ch Nisar has also clarified that so far his party has not called for mid-term polls but when they do it will be done in an overt and public fashion. The fact is that the present government continues to be afflicted by ineptness, corruption and a total lack of direction. Stories of corruption in thing made public sector keep surfacing as do the cases of fraud with fake degrees topping that agenda - and this issue may strike at the very top also which is why an attempt is being made to muzzle this up one way or another. As for lack of direction, that is only too clear when we look at the security and economic situations and the growing despair amongst the masses. Mid- term polls may not be what anyone desires, but unless the present rot in the democratic system is stopped, we may be confronted with that possibility as the only means of cleansing the system.