WITH the nomination of Ch Nisar Ali Khan as the Leader of the Opposition and the promise to soon allot seats to the PML-N on the opposition benches, a new chapter will open between the PPP and PML-N. In his remarks soon after his nomination, he called on the PPP to refrain from destabilising the Punjab government, warning that this could have a domino effect. Ch Nisar Ali Khan being a seasoned parliamentarian one expects that while he keeps a watchful eye on the administration's performance, would set an example of how a responsible opposition should function. His remark that his party does not seek early elections indicates that he is aware of the need to allow the system to work smoothly. The ruling coalition too needs to reciprocate by respecting the right of the PML-N to rule Punjab. At long last, the process to appoint the chairmen of the National Assembly's Standing Committees has also been initiated. MNAs Maulana Fazlur Rehaman, Isfandyar Wali and Mustafa Shah have been respectively elected chairmen of committees on Kashmir, Foreign Affairs and Water and Power. One hopes the chairmen of the rest of the committees too would be appointed at the earliest to allow the NA to efficiently pursue the task of legislation. What needs to be done in days to come is to restore the full powers of the NA as visualized in the Constitution as it existed before the 1999 military takeover. For this the 17th amendment and 58(2)b have to be repealed. A constitutional amendment to achieve this should not be difficult because both the PPP and PML-N are already committed to it while the government also enjoys the additional support of a number of MQM and PML-Q legislators now. The leaders of both the PPP and PML-N claim that they have learnt from their mistakes and would not revert to the type of infighting that characterized the 1988-99 period. For this they need to undertake a firefighting exercise in Punjab. To avoid an unhappy situation where there is a likelihood of the tail wagging the dog, the race to enlist the support of PML-Q legislators by both sides has to be brought to an end. The two iftar dinners on Wednesday by the PML-N and PML-Q were a show of strength. That the PPP leadership in Punjab was reportedly involved in providing logistic support to Ch Pervaiz Elahi indicated to many that it would seek whatever support was available to turn the tables on the PML-N. Similarly the way the latter is courting the Q-League Forward Block indicates that it too would go for anything, even if it violated sound political principles, to maintain majority in the PA.