THE so far unsuccessful effort by the PPP hierarchy to cover up President Zardari's admission of a deal backed by foreign guarantors for the safe exit of General (retired) Musharraf, has led to a plethora of statements that can best be described as bizarre. First there was the official denial of something that had been said in front of host of senior media people. This was followed by an even more confusing explanation by Governor Taseer, again at an iftar, that while there was no written deal as such, there was dialogue that led to an arrangement for Musharraf's safe exit. Taseer also confirmed that there were foreign guarantors involved in the "negotiations". So one can surmise that while there was nothing in writing, a verbal deal backed by foreign guarantors, was in place. But then the Prime Minister, not to be left behind in showing loyalty to the President, made the most absurd claims to date on the issue. According to what is fast becoming Gilani's unique logic, one could only talk of a deal if Parliament gave Musharraf indemnity or the President pardoned him. What bizarre reasoning. The fact is that the issue of safe exit relates to the government protecting Musharraf from being legally liable through a trial. In other words, the government giving a commitment not to proceed legally against Musharraf in terms of violation of the constitution. This is what is happening presently with the Prime Minister glibly referring to a need for a consensual parliamentary resolution and other such pretexts. As for Gilani's claim regarding indemnity or presidential pardon - that can only happen if and when a case is registered in the first instance, and when a guilty sentence has been passed in the second case. With all these ridiculous efforts to detract from what President Zardari had in fact truthfully stated, one can only assume that the aim is to hide away the reality amid a dense cloud of confusion. Problem for the government is that it is not working. Instead, all that is happening is that whatever credibility remains of the leadership, it is fast eroding. Surrounded by a bulging team of Lilliputians, the President has not been served well on this latest controversy. With the PML-N determined to now play a strong oppositional role and hold the leadership accountable through Parliament, it would be far better for the President and his band of advisors to acknowledge the deal, admit the error and exercise the right to backtrack on it in the national interest.