There is a proper time for everything. As in all walks of life, so in politics, there comes a time when a community or a nation has to take a final decision after discussions have run their full course. Debate cannot go on endlessly because arguments alone are unable to settle the issues. There is hardly anything that is supported by all people anywhere. Where the debate ends, the vote takes over. This is the universal principle in a democratic dispensation. The proposed 18th amendment has been discussed for more than a year now. Time has arrived to vote to settle differences, if there are any, by a mandatory majority vote. While the historic consensus reached in the CRC package is no mean achievement, it must move on to the logical conclusion which means graduation from dream to reality. The President in his third address to the joint session of Parliament has rightfully exhorted the legislators to speed up the process of adopting the 18th amendment. This advice by the head of state, and the urgency of it, cannot be dismissed lightly. The parliament need not take months to finish a job which can be accomplished in a week or two as the nation has already debated the constitutional issues threadbare. Any avoidable delay to enact the change will mean that the Parliament has failed in it's duty to the people of Pakistan. If the amendment is not legislated in a few days or a couple weeks at the most, it will give credence to the perception that Pakistan is unfit to govern itself and that politicians of Pakistan are good for nothing. My best wishes and prayers are for the Parliament to rush out of the constitutional rigmarole which has the potential to make us a laughing stock of the whole international community. -BASHIR A. MALIK, Islamabad, April 5