A nation weary of military coups subsequently endorsed by a pliant judiciary has welcomed with one voice the verdict of the Supreme Court declaring November 3 emergency imposed by a military dictator as unconstitutional. This is indicated by the nationwide celebrations on Friday and the unanimous endorsement of the verdict by virtually all political parties who otherwise remain divided over most issues. President Zardari's spokesman has hailed the verdict for being a stinging negation of dictatorship. PM Gilani considers it a good omen for the future of democracy. ANP chief Asfandyar Wali has called it a milestone decision that would strengthen democracy. For Mian Nawaz Sharif it is a big step towards the rule of law while PTI chief Imran Khan has praised it for declaring Nov 3 emergency unconstitutional. JI Amir Munawwar Hasan has welcomed the decision hoping that it would open the way for Musharraf's trial. While the decision is rife with serious implications some of which are likely to manifest themselves in days to come, it also performs a delicately balancing act of not upsetting the system or creating any urgent problem for the administration. Thus while the entire judicial edifice created in the wake of November 3 has been dismantled, the 2007 general elections and the political order emanating from these has been endorsed as constitutional, leaving President Zardari and the Parliament as well as financial and administrative actions taken during the unconstitutional emergency intact. Similarly, despite prayer by the counsel representing the Sindh High Court Bar Association to declare Musharraf usurper and try him for high treason the Court left the matter in the hands of the Parliament and the nation. Again while abolishing the Islamabad High Court on grounds of having been set up in an unconstitutional manner, the SC has suggested to the government to set up a court for the federal capital territory in accordance with the constitution. The verdict offers a big challenge to the superior judiciary itself. About 100 judges belonging to the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court and the four High Courts have either been retired or sent back to their previous posts. The Balochistan High Court is the most affected as it is left with no judge without the PCO stigma. Replacements have to be made urgently to ensure timely justice. The verdict provides space to the parliament to strengthen itself and other institutions. Despite reservations expressed in the judgement about the way the Dogar court handled the issue of presidential ordinances, the Parliament has been called on to regularise them within the prescribed period if it so wishes. The verdict requires the SC to jealously guard the trichotomy of power between the legislature, executive and judiciary. It is time the parliament put its act together. It has to move fast to strike down the 17th amendment and 58(2)b. There are many who think there is a need to increase the strength of the Supreme Court through a constitutional amendment. Unless the Parliament is ready to fulfil its duties, vital issues would continue to land in the SC or get resolved through street agitation.