FEDERAL Information Minister Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira has said that the President is willing to give up his powers under the 17th Amendment, including that of dissolving the National Assembly and appointing the service chiefs, and wanted to transfer these powers to the Prime Minister. While talking to a private TV channel, he said the President wanted to hand over some of the powers to Parliament. The Minister was merely repeating what the President had said on more than one occasion, most notably to Parliament itself in his address to the joint session. However, since then, the delays which have taken place have confirmed the earlier impression that Asif Zardari, even though he assumed the Presidency as a politician duly elected, and the office itself still accrued all the powers that had been assumed by a military ruler, did not want to give up these powers. The present excuse, it appears, is that the Constitution is to be brought in line with the 1973 Constitution, but that there is no time limit in this regard. With the presidency of Asif Zardari well into its second year, there is no point any longer in passing on the responsibility to the parliamentary committee specially formed to review the Constitution. With the party that President Zardari heads, the PPP, having a majority on the committee, there seems no reason other than the President's disinclination, for the delay in its work. However, after the meeting on Monday night, the committee seems to have speeded up its work. The President should be more aware than anyone else of the need to give up these powers. He is also aware that giving them up is a relatively simple matter of passing the relevant legislation through Parliament. The requisite two-thirds majority is available if the government coalition, plus the PML-N, was to deliver its votes. Therefore the only thing preventing the requisite legislation is President Zardari's own decision. This must be reversed, and the constant refrain of the government, that it is building on democracy, must be lived up to. There is probably no way the other members of the coalition can force the President, so this task must be fulfilled by members of his own party. They must make it clear to the government, which he installed, and of which Mr Kaira is a part, that the present situation is unacceptable, especially as it can be changed. President Zardari will merely have to fulfil a solemn promise to revert the Constitution back to its original parliamentary form, under which his office has only the powers of a figurehead, and nothing more.