AN 18th to do away with the 17th, but essentially to do away with the 8th. And if the mish-mash of numbers is confusing, the parties tabling the bills for the proposed 18th Amendment are also a clutter. The PML(N) seems most interested in it, but the PML(Q) has already submitted a bill to the Senate Secretariat to the effect. Which, of course, is the irony of the situation; it was the PML(Q) itself that moved the previous bill, with support from the MQM and that phenomenon of the "friendly opposition" called the MMA. The MMA isn't around this time round and the MQM seems to have dropped hints of supporting an 18th as well. So if everybody is on this side, who is the main hurdle in the passage of the amendment? Surprisingly, it is the ruling Pakistan People's Party, the party otherwise most averse to any deviation from the original 1973 text, that is reluctant. The Why is a big question. And like almost all the controversial steps (or lack thereof) of the party, the PPP hasn't made a strong enough case for itself. What's stopping it? It lacks a two-thirds majority in the Houses, it says. And the word being given out by its leaders is that it will wait for March, when the Senate elections are due. By then, the PML(Q) will lose its majority in the Upper House and the path would have been cleared. But this would have been a valid argument only if the PML(Q) were, indeed, against the Amendment. But, being the first party in the current Parliament to do something about the wretched 17th Amendment, it has clearly done away with the doubts to the effect. There is no need to wait till March. As far as the Parliamentary Affairs Minister's statements about keeping the good parts of the 17th and getting rid of only the jarring ones, that shouldn't be the cause of any delay because the good parts are few and far between. Even the women's seats - the softest bit of the Amendment - is very debatable as far as actual women's empowerment is concerned. All parties should come together and scrap the 17th Amendment. It really is about time.