Who lit up the fire, the smoke of which kept the country guessing till midnight on the 1st of November, 2007? A number of possibilities came up for discussion on various TV Channels – specially GEO, whose reporter Mr. Tahir Khalil, a distinguished member of the famed ‘helicopter group’ had launched the rumour (as hard news). There was an air of ‘certainty’ about the manner in which the probable possibilities were aired and debated. To meet the challenge of an extraordinary situation developing in the country, the ruling leadership had arrived at the decision to resort to an extraordinary response. This was the crux of the GEO report which further explained that the extraordinary response could be both – constitutional as well as supra-constitutional. Meaning thereby that either an emergency allowed by the Constitution could be declared, in order to bring some order in the rapidly expanding chaos, or a new PCO could be enforced to discipline all the potential trouble-makers including the increasingly “defiant” judiciary. Sheikh Rashid, though expressed his ignorance about any such decision, did not restrain himself from suggesting that as without Martial Law, the required PCO could not be enforced, and as the international conditions did not permit the promulgation of Martial Law, the likeliest ‘remedy’ to the chaos could be something like ‘Emergency-plus.’ Sher Afgan was quick to laugh off any such idea. “I haven’t heard about this term before,” he commented. “And as far as I am concerned nothing is in the offing.” Still the mystery remains who happened to mastermind this rumour which had enough ‘gunpowder’ to rock our stock exchange. I am sure President Pervez Musharraf by now has learnt more about politics than those of our politicians who have spent a lifetime in this game. He by now knows that there is a lot more to gain by keeping all options open than by ‘banging’ the doors of some options shut. I think he has been playing his cards judiciously. But some of his powerful team members seem to be in a hurry to narrow down his options, so that their own future chances aren’t challenged by the emergence of a new scenario. Who are these team members? Are they going to succeed in engineering a situation in which there is no escape from ‘more of the same’? I think, their endeavours are not going to deliver the results they are yearning for. What the country needs is both – continuity and change. If President Mr. Perez Musharraf is to be accepted as a symbol of continuity, then all around him, an area of change has to develop to meet the hopes of the masses who have done everything this year to show that they will never never compromise with ‘more of the same’.