THE Chief Justice's announcement, while hearing a case in the Supreme Court, that the latter could review the 17th Amendment, adds a new dimension to the constitutional debate in the country. After the War on Terror, the question of what to do with this much hated amendment to the Constitution is the focus of everybody's attention in national politics. The recent advances of the Taliban have put this debate on the backburner for a while, but it is still simmering and waiting for a response. All wrongs, advocates of democracy will say, are not righted merely with the resignation of the previous President and the reinstatement of the apex judiciary. As far as the former dictator is concerned, what more could have been done other than his resignation? Well, in the Chief Justice's own words, "We can review all martial law regulations and actions, even those given protection by Article 270AA of the Constitution under the 17th Constitutional Amendment." That is bound to be interesting, if ugly. The whole deal is going to be challenged, however. The judiciary cannot make laws, only interpret them, the defenders of the former President are going to say. True, but the judiciary can, even if there is a law or amendment passed by Parliament, rule that it is still ultra vires of the Constitution. Open to interpretation, yes, but we already know the mood of the court when this debate would come up. And to be fair, the apex court really would be well within its rights to review the Amendment. This statement by the Chief Justice could also spur up the Treasury to prepare its much hyped constitutional package. Initially meant primarily for solving the problem of the judiciary deposed on 3 November 2007, the PPP's constitutional package will now deal principally with the mess left by Pervez Musharraf in the form of the 17th Amendment. This includes a host of issues, including the powers of the President, the two-time term limit for Prime Ministers (previously a cause for concern for both the PPP and PML (N), now only for the latter) and others. The Supreme Court, however, can contribute a lot towards the resolution of the problem of militancy in the country. The new National Judicial Policy has set a couple of standards that has a time cap of 90 days on criminal and family cases and 30 days for child custody cases. If civil cases were also to be sped up, the demand for alternative systems of justice, often confused with simple extremist militancy, would go away and the militants be sidelined to some extent, as far as public support is concerned. Problems like these are becoming more of an existential threat than the ones that have cropped up because of the 17th Amendment.