THE passage of the Constitutional 18th Amendment Bill 2010 unanimously through the National Assembly certainly marked a historic milestone in the constitutional history of Pakistan. Although the given intent was to restore the 1973 Constitution in its original form, the Bill has actually gone far beyond and altered the 1973 Constitution in some intrinsic ways, including in the renaming of NWFP. Undoubtedly, the balance of power has shifted back not only to the Prime Minister but also to the Parliament. After all, Parliament will now have direct inputs into key appointments in terms of the senior judiciary and the Chief Election Commissioner. Another welcome step has been the compulsion for the President to appoint a caretaker set up when a Parliamentary term is over, before elections can be held. Secret ballots for election of Prime Minister and Chief Ministers have also been done away with. The President will have effectively no substantive powers once the Bill becomes law. Even his power to appoint the three armed forces chiefs will have to be on the binding recommendations from the Prime Minister. There has been much rejoicing over the reassertion of the supremacy of Parliament. However, this should not be taken as undermining the place of the judiciary which some parties are already trying to do. After all, no one can be above the law including parliamentarians. It was strange also to find in all the applause and mention of the critical role of the media in upholding democratic norms. It is also unfortunate that while Parliamentary supremacy has been so central to the members of the National Assembly, their avowed democratic aspirations vanished on the issue of asserting the democratic principles within their own parties through elections, especially now that party leaders as potential prime ministers will play such crucial national roles. It seems that we are destined to pursue hereditary politics within our political parties - with only a few truly democratic spirits standing apart. Ironically, now that power is going to be concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister, let us hope we do not become a UK-like parliamentary democracy where Parliament effectively has ceded so much ground to prime ministerial power that it is effectively he rather than parliament that reigns supreme. Again, while one has no objections to the democratic method used for the renaming of the NWFP, the protests that are taking place reflect clearly the lack of consensus within NWFP itself on this issue. That is why it would have been more democratic to have allowed a referendum on the issue. Finally, while the new Bill gives protection against dictatorial takeovers and their validation by the courts, we must accept them as dark moments of our history that we as a nation cannot and should not be allowed to forget. Unless we accept our past with all its blemishes, we will never truly move on or learn any lessons from history.