THE PPP government imagined that all that was needed to solve the judges issue was to swear in afresh the affected judges, and announce that they were to enjoy their previous seniority. It did not imagine that any of those judges, who had duly remained on their respective courts by taking the oath administered under the PCO, might have an objection that they were affected and disturbed in their new seniority. The judges making fresh oath also probably did not foresee this, though as judges learned in law they perhaps should have. But that very eventuality has arisen, and that too in the Supreme Court. This is being faced by Justice Shakiullah Jan, who in principle has returned at No 2 in the seniority list, but is not being accepted as such by Mr Justice Qaim Jan, who has refused to surrender his driver, while Mr Justice Saeed Ashhad has refused to hand over his courtroom. Though the position of both judges has not been tested in court, they seem to be taking the view that the fresh oath cannot confer seniority, but the judges thus restored must take position at the end of the line, and must not claim their old seniority. The deposed judges restored by a fresh oath must not rely on the commitment of the federal Law Minister at the time of the fresh oath, because that did not count; what will be enforced will be court decisions. At a time when this particular storm is brewing up, the government has also decided to retire Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and make him vacate his official residence in 10 days, thus closing his chapter, and depriving the lawyers' movement of its centre. The government should keep in mind the wishes of the people when making decisions. The lawyers' movement has become one for the independence of the judiciary, of which Chief Justice Chaudhry's restoration is a symbol. The government must realize that the simplest way out is the one it is avoiding, even at the cost of abandoning a coalition formed with such difficulty: a simple notification backed by a National Assembly resolution.