PRIME Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani has said that the government backed the efforts to repeal the 17th Amendment and would support a consensus bill to repeal it. A committee has been set up, as the Prime Minister said, to consider the various opposition bills to amend the controversial amendment, and come up with a consensus bill, incorporating and reconciling the various bills before it. Mr Gilani's statement has come at a time when the Opposition, particularly the PML(N), has decided to launch a campaign on this issue. The PPP has found that it has got the worst of both worlds, because it is committed to ending the 17th Amendment, but it wants it not to be abolished, because the party co-Chairman, Asif Zardari, has also become President after the resignation of Pervez Musharraf from that office. The 17th Amendment was implemented by Musharraf in 2002, to increase the powers of the President at the expense of the Prime Minister, who was seen as an effective chief executive both under the original 1973 Constitution, and the Constitution as it stood when Musharraf carried out his coup. The PPP had campaigned against it, when no one from the party held the Presidency, but since Asif Zardari was elected to the office, it has taken refuge in its lack of a two-thirds majority in Parliament to explain its dilatoriness. On the other hand, having the Constitution in its present distorted form suits the PPP co-chairman, because it enables him to have another lever to control the Prime Minister, not that he needs any. There is thus little surprise that the opposition has chosen to agitate the issue, by moving its own amendment bills. However, it is not a positive sign that President Asif Zardari, though in his address to Parliament he was firmly against the 17th Amendment, has not shown any support for the bills. It is also not positive that the bills were introduced by the Opposition. Though they have been adopted by the Treasury, they also need its active support if they are to go onto the Treasury's legislative timetable. If the consensus bill is to be adopted, it will require the suspension of the rules, which is only possible with Treasury support. It is an open secret that the measure must have the President's support if it is to pass. At the same time, Parliament must be wary of passing measures aimed at one person, or one office; especially when the measure is a constitutional amendment. The target must be to restore the Constitution to its original shape, and for that, all political forces must pull t