President-elect Asif Ali Zardari's success in the last Saturday's presidential election was a forgone conclusion, but the wide margin with which he has scored victory over his rivals goes much beyond what was being generally conceded. The presidential election and its outcome is a land mark event in the political history of Pakistan, whose implications for the functioning of the Pakistani federation and democratic political order will be long debated and discussed. There is no doubt that it is a giant step towards completing the process of democratic transition in the country. But full democracy would only be restored when all those constitutional changes or amendments, which limit the sovereign authority of Parliament, especially Article 58-2(b) are removed. In the context of political and constitutional history of Pakistan, democracy means parliamentary democracy. And for restoring parliamentary democracy, it is necessary to make the Parliament sovereign. Parliamentary democracy is one of the three - the other two being federalism and independence of judiciary - political ideals on which there is a total national consensus in Pakistan. The people of the country have waged a long and arduous struggle to realise it, first through the 1956 constitution, and then in the form of 1973 constitution. However, all the military rulers of Pakistan tried to subvert it through different means. Field Marshal Ayub Khan replaced parliamentary democracy with the presidential system under the 1962 constitution. His entire political philosophy was based on the renunciation of parliamentary democracy as a 'recipe for political instability, economic slow down and disintegration of the country'. But the people of Pakistan rejected him along with his political system based on controlled democracy. After Ayub, General Yahya Khan insisted on retaining veto power in the hands of a president in the post-1970 elections political set-up in the country. But no political party was ready to buy his argument. General Ziaul Haq could not abrogate the 1973 constitution but usurped as president the powers of the Parliament by inserting Article 58-2(b). Less than a decade after his death, the democratically elected Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif during his second tenure deleted this clause from the constitution. But, unfortunately, General Musharraf restored it in 2002 through the 17th Constitutional Amendment. Hence, all the political parties rejected his concept of "Unity of Command" and vowed to restore the supremacy of the Parliament and the constitution to its original form. If President Asif Ali Zardari wants to really make Musharraf the "relic of the past," as he described him some time back and restore the sovereignty of the Parliament, as he has vowed to do immediately after winning the presidential election, he must remove Article 58-2(b) as early as possible. The time for removing the relic of authoritarianism - 58-2(b) - cannot be more appropriate. The democratic process has been completed with the overwhelming success of Senator Asif Ali Zardari in the presidential election. The coalition government led by the Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) is well saddled firmly holding the reins of power in the centre. It enjoys complete support of its political partners with whom it has formed coalition governments in three of the four provinces. The results of the presidential election held on September 6 amply shows that the PPP has the capacity to achieve this goal through an amendment of the constitution. The amendment motion can easily be carried through in the Lower House of the Parliament (National Assembly) as all the coalition partners and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would fully back it. In the Senate, where presidential poll results have presented a completely changed scenario, it will be easily passed. With Zardari as president, the assent to the Constitutional Amendment bill will be no problem. All the major political parties of the country have unanimously called for the removal of Article 58-2(b) from the constitution as it negates the very fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy. The PPP and PML-N have also committed themselves to do away with this clause under the Charter of Democracy (CoD). Most recently, President-elect Senator Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani have given assurances in a number of statements that the imbalance in powers between the president and the Parliament would be corrected by removing 58-2(b). In his article published in the Washington Post, President Zardari has made it clear that the powers of the president would be rimmed and the supremacy of the Parliament restored. In other statements he has aired his view that the Parliament must have more powers than the president. "I reiterate that the Parliament is sovereign and the president would be subservient to the house of the people's representatives," was the categorical statement made by President-elect Zardari immediately after the announcement of his success in the presidential election results on Saturday. Moreover, Prime Minister Gilani has also held out clear assurance that Article 58-2(b) would be revoked, despite the fact that his government did not face any threat of dismissal with the both offices of president and prime minister being occupied by the PPP. "With the president and prime minister hailing from the same party, the government has no problem with Article 58-2(b)," the prime minister had said. "Yet we are committed to revoking the Article for the sake of our own future," he remarked. Prime Minister Gilani was right because the future of democracy, peace, political stability and social harmony in Pakistan is closely linked with the supremacy of the Parliament. The supremacy of the Parliament, however, cannot materialise without removing the constraints on the exercise of its powers in the form of certain constitutional changes or amendments arbitrarily inserted by the past military rulers of Pakistan. The chief among these constraints is Article 58-2(b) under which the president is the sole judge of expediency to send the democratically elected assemblies and the government packing home. The past two decades witnessed four democratically elected governments being struck down under the blow of 58-2(b). In the presence of Article 58-2(b) as part of the constitution, the country would remain in the grip of political uncertainty. There would be no respect for the popular mandate and that democracy would always feel unsafe if this Article is kept hanging on the head of the Parliament as the proverbial Sword of Damocles. Pakistan's past political history has proved time and again that the people have never accepted deviation from parliamentary democracy. This is evident from the struggle waged by the people of both parts of the country, first against the authoritarian trends in the 1935 Act, which were to a great extent removed in the 1956 constitution, and, then, against the autocratic presidential government of General Ayub Khan, resulting in the framing of 1973 constitution based on supremacy of Parliament. The revoking of Article 58-2(b) would also be a fulfilment of the commitments that the PPP has repeatedly made to the people of Pakistan for the restoration of complete democracy in the country. It would strengthen the credibility of the party as a true champion of democracy as envisioned in the 1973 constitution. The removal of this clause along with all those provisions of the 17th Constitutional Amendment, which distorted the parliamentary character of the constitution, may also induce PML-N to again become a part of the ruling coalition. This will augur well not only for the future of democracy in Pakistan but also help meet the tough challenges Pakistan faces today in the form of extremism, terrorism, deteriorating economic conditions and internal security.