AFTER wasting full one year in avoidable squabbles with the opposition, the PPP leadership gives now the impression of being determined to resolve them post haste. This was indicated by President Zardaris letter to PM Gilani, released to the press the same day it was handed over to the Prime Minister, to 'urgently take steps to implement the CoD. Without wasting a day, Mr Gilani has got a resolution passed by the National Assembly that would lead to the setting up of an All Party Special Committee to work out recommendations to repeal the 17th amendment in the light of the CoD. The remarkable speed is bound to be widely appreciated. So high is the trust deficit, however, that Leader of the Opposition in the NA has suspended passing a judgment on the move pending a couple of meetings of the committee. He has also demanded the passage of the amendments within two months. Unlike the past when the PPP leadership had stubbornly maintained that no timeframe could be given for the implementation of political agreements, Federal Minister Babar Awan said the government would abide by any timeframe suggested by the committee. Empowering the Parliament as visualized in the CoD would strengthen the political system. Among other things it would institutionalize curbs on the accumulation of powers in the hands of individuals. While the PPP leadership has been criticized by opponents for dragging feet on the CoD to keep powers concentrated in the President, the past record of the PML-N leadership in this respect is by no means ideal. The attempt by Mian Nawaz to enact the 15th Amendment was widely seen to be aimed at getting dictatorial powers in his own hands. His orders to handcuff a government official without due process were also indicative of similar undemocratic tendencies. While the PML-N claims that it has learnt from its past mistakes the real test would come when the party assumes power at the center. The CoD which PM Gilani considers the most important document after the Constitution, institutionalise limitations on the accumulation of powers in the hands of the rulers. The appointment of judges through a politically balanced commission would put an end to the practice of packing the courts of which both the mainstream parties have been accused in the past. Similarly the replacement of NAB by an independent accountability commission would hopefully ensure that the body does not turn into a tool to persecute the opposition. Similarly an autonomous and independent Election Commission is likely to redress the all too familiar complaints regarding the ruling party manipulating the elections. Once these measures are enacted they would put life into an otherwise weak democratic culture and strengthen the system.