ALL eyes are set on President Asif Zardari who, sources close to the PPP circles maintain, has taken the historic decision to relinquish the powers to dissolve the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies and would be making a formal announcement to that effect when he addresses the joint session of the Parliament on March 28. That would not only be a welcome step towards putting the Charter of Democracy into effect, but would also honour the commitment he had made while addressing the joint session last year. The powers of dissolution, contained in Article 58(2b) of the Constitution, are violative of the spirit and practice of parliamentary democracy and had been acquired by President Ziaul Haq by effecting a constitutional Amendment. If the Constitution were to be restored in its original form, there is no other option for the President but to give them up. On the question of the President's reported insistence on retaining certain powers like the appointment of service chiefs and governors so as not to become a titular head, major political forces in the country must be consulted to ensure that the parliamentary form of democracy is not distorted. The implementation of the Charter, signed between Ms Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif in 2006 while they were in exile fighting for the restoration of democratic order in the country, has been a persistent call of the PML(N) and, indeed, was also one of the basic planks of both parties' manifestoes on the basis of which they had fought 2008 general elections. Most other political parties subscribe to the Charter as well. This would stipulate the annulment of the 17th Amendment and it is good to learn that that is on the cards as well. It is hoped that other irritants, like the Governor's rule in Punjab and the disqualification of the Sharif brothers from holding political office, would be removed to provide a boost to the reconciliation process and in the interest of stability in the country. It would have been far better had the President made the move to undo the constitutional distortions much earlier; thus he would have spared the nation the tension that the struggle for the restoration of the judges had caused. And the dent in his reputation would have been avoided. Now hopefully both main parties will pursue the issues relating to the Charter and other required changes in the system with all sincerity. The President, who holds the key to resolving the tangle, should keep in mind the imperative necessity of political stability, which is a sine qua non for economic recovery and solving quite a few other ills of society. The perceptions of foreign powerful players about the set-up's ability to deliver cannot be ignored also under the circumstances.