AT President Asif Zardaris meeting with senior journalists of Lahore at Governor House on Friday, the PPP-PML-N relations and the issues that have an adverse bearing on them came up. Although the interaction hardly revealed anything new of note, it would be worthwhile analysing them. The 17th Amendment and 58(2)b might be dead as far as their practical application was concerned, as the President maintained, suggesting that he had no intention of using them. Nevertheless, their very existence on the statute book constitutes an ugly patch that distorts the very character of the Constitution, which is parliamentary democracy. When consensus about their abrogation already exists among the various political parties, it looks quite strange that they should have been made part of a much bigger constitutional reform package, which contains some contentious issues as well. Therefore, it is difficult to avoid the impression that a deliberate attempt has been made to let the issue drag on; for, apparently, the President does not like to lose the option available to him under them. Besides, had the amendments been removed, there was no need for him to discount the feeling that the PPP intended to use them as bargaining chips in its dealings with the PML-N. He assured the journalists that there was no question of the PPP using them as bargain over anyone wanting to become prime minister for more than two terms. He would not stand in the way of anyone, who has been prime minister or chief minister for two terms, occupying these slots again, if successful. As the President told the journalists, that included senior columnists and anchormen, that the PPP practised the politics of reconciliation. When he was asked the reason for that policy not being in evidence in its relations with the PML-N, his answer was, We have to do our politics and they are to do theirs. Let both of us do our respective politics. The truth seems to be that it is the governments reservations on implementing the Charter of Democracy, especially the promised repeal of the 17th Amendment and 58(2)b, that has muddied the waters between the two. Had Mr Zardari honoured his commitment at Burbhan, the political climate would have been entirely different. Logically speaking, if these constitutional aberrations have lost their practical value, they should be straightaway excised. That would suddenly and radically change the internal political scenario of tension and bickering. Reluctance to dispense with them would continue to give rise to the suspicion that the President wants to retain them.