The Central Executive Council of Pakistan Peoples Party has authorised Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to dissolve the federal Cabinet and reappoint a smaller Cabinet enjoying reputation of integrity, competence and efficiency, in consultation with the coalition partners. This is a highly commendable decision that should have been taken way back. Anyway, the decision taken due to the public and international pressure should be welcomed, since our weak economy could not bear the expense of maintaining the present Cabinet assumed to be the largest in the world. It is now likely to be reduced to around 30, in accordance with the 18th Constitutional Amendment. It is, therefore, a constitutional requirement, which the Gilani government could ill afford to ignore. Having said that, the billion dollar question is: Whether the downsizing of the Cabinet alone will save the nation from the critical multi-dimensional crisis that confronts Pakistan today. Indeed, it will help as a first step to put the countrys economy back on the rails. However, it has to be followed with determination in all other sectors at the national level. In addition, why not dissolve and downsize the Provincial Assemblies? Anyhow, the new Cabinet is likely to be sworn in during the next few days, during which it is expected that efforts will be made to persuade the MQM and JUI-F to rejoin the government. With these two parties remaining out of the government, and the PML-N-PPP coalition in Punjab in doldrums, the government at the centre is not likely to be in a position to face the internal and external challenges. It will continue to face the crisis of survival by maintaining majority in the National Assembly, in order to legislate upon major issues pertaining to the economy, law and order, corruption and accountability, war on terror, extremism, last but not least ensure good governance. However, the failure to produce positive results in these sectors may result in a similar wave of public anger that is currently witnessed in the Arab world. In this backdrop, many analysts are already forecasting a hung Parliament with the demands of mid-term elections by no less heavyweight politicians than Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif, who is no longer inclined to act as a friendly opposition. No wonder, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islams (JUI) Maulana Fazalur Rehman has yet stuck to his firm stand of not joining even the downsized new government, despite the fact that the government is willing to accept all his terms and conditions. The same applies to Altaf Bhai of the MQM. More so, the breakaway elements of the PML-Q in the Punjab Provincial Assembly have applied for recognition as a party, and are preparing to join the PML-N in case the PPP quits the Punjab coalition, and opts to sit in the opposition. The Pir of Pagaro has already declared his age-old option of a partnership with GHQ. His united Muslim League is bond to follow suite. As far as the PML-Q is concerned, which has a respectable size in the National and Provincial Assemblies, in spite of open overtures from Prime Minister Gilani to join the government, it has openly declined the offer and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has said that his party will not board any sinking ship. With this national scenario, one must face the unfortunate reality that no single political party is at present in a position to form a stable government at the centre, making it absolutely vital for all the political parties to join hands and rise above self and party interest to save the nation from the present perilous state. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum.