IT goes to the coalition government's credit that it has presented a more detailed defence budget than the past practice of a one liner mentioning only a figure. This is in line with the promise made in the Charter of Democracy by the two major coalition partners. The information, however, fell short of the expectations of many Senators who pointed out during the debate that there were no more than total figures of expenditure under a few heads. These included a service-wise break up, allocations for employees, operating expenses, expenditure on assets, stocks and stores, and civil works. It was maintained that the army's secret funds and the money allocated to security agencies should have been indicated. It was also noted that only two hours were given for discussion after which the Finance Minister wrapped up the debate. The presentation of defence budget fulfils a long-standing public demand. Despite the information being sketchy, the move constitutes an affirmation of the Parliament's right to have access to full facts and to debate, modify or reject demands implying recognition of its supremacy. Henceforth it would be possible to call defence representatives to answer objections raised in parliamentary committees. Contradictory statements came from government leaders during the last few weeks that the decision to present the information before the Parliament was taken after considerable debate and, finally, the stand taken by Prime Minister Gillani who had promised a debate on the defence budget soon after being elected prevailed over those led by the Defence Minister who maintained that only bare outlines of the document might be shown to cabinet members. The presentation would introduce the badly needed transparency in defence spending and ensure accountability. What is equally needed is full transparency in the dealings of civilian rulers who have been frequently accused in the past of corruption and cronyism. Politicians have been dragged to courts and involved in lengthy litigation as they languished in prisons or were hounded out of the country. They have often accused their opponents or the establishment of using pliant judges to persecute them unjustly. There is a widespread perception that transparency in the working of the government can ensure cleaner administration. Equally important is an independent and free judiciary to administer even handed justice. It is time the government went ahead ensuring transparency and rehabilitating the deposed judges who were punished for the independence displayed by them.