BROADLY speaking, one hallmark of our leadership is that more often than not it likes to indulge in rhetoric. After all, it is much easier to be long on words and short on action. And this is the impression one gets from the speech made by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the National Assembly on the eve of Independence Day. His address mainly revolved round the theme of strengthening Parliament. He not only cautioned the nation that if the present Parliament failed, there would come no other House strong enough to strengthen democracy, but also plainly told the legislators that since it is a case of now or never they must themselves act to empower Parliament. But indeed the things Mr Gilani wants to become a reality need no magic wand. Only the PPP would have to come up with the requisite will. Since the goal of an independent Parliament is inextricably linked to the balance of power between the offices of the prime minister and the president, President Zardari ought to give up the presidential powers. In this point, there is a perception that Parliament is nothing more than a debating club and that too much power has been concentrated in one individual. Conversely, the Prime Minister, who is directly answerable to the House, lacks the power and authority. Partly, because of the PPP's foot-dragging over vital issues of national importance like the 17th Amendment which for instance had deprived the PM of the power to appoint the armed forces chiefs or Supreme Court judges along with the issue of Article 58(2b), Parliament has been unable to assert itself or make any significant contribution towards nation building. There is for instance the Balochistan crisis, lying unresolved because the House has not been able to do anything about it. Likewise, the dispute over the local bodies continues to take its toll on the day-to-day functioning of the government. President Zardari, who is at the helm, must follow up his promise of giving up the powers with definite moves.