IT is somehow hard to stomach the statement of President Zardari in which he has expressed his powerlessness to intervene in the critical situation of sugar and flour availability in the country. He is not a titular head, not by a long shot, though that is what he should be according to the norms of parliamentary democratic system, which is supposed to be in vogue here. The pity is that despite the clear commitment made by Ms Benazir Bhutto, to whom Mr Zardari never tires of paying tribute for her political wisdom, to shed powers that the constitutional distortions effected during the past dictatorial regimes that have been conferred on him - and the all round demand in support of that - he continues hold on to them. Having been in office already for a year, he has dragged out the issue without any justification. Now he has indicated that the process of "abolishing" the 17th Amendment would be completed "during this parliamentary year". Anyone familiar with the working of the central government would testify that, besides these powers, he holds the clout as the PPP's Co-Chairman to intervene in any issue he wants. The sugar and flour crises are no small matter; they are adversely affecting the entire spectrum of Pakistani society. It is unconvincing for him to say that he is not able to sort these out. In a panel interview with the APP in Islamabad on Tuesday, Mr Zardari also tried to justify the unconscionable delay in resolving the Balochistan issue, which has assumed dangerous proportions by default on the part of the government. It was a simple grouse against the unwillingness of the federation to grant provincial autonomy that has now taken, with extremist agitators, the form of a nascent separatist movement. It should have been settled soon after Mr Zardari had tendered apologies for the wrongs done to the people of the province. The Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan constituted during the Musharraf regime had made certain recommendations after holding consultations with Baloch leaders. Immediate steps should have been taken to dig them out and see what could be done about them. However, one hopes that the "collective parliamentary decision" would be taken soon after Eid, as promised by the President. As Mr Zardari completes a year in office, matters of grave concern to the people continue to remain unattended. Nevertheless, the PPP has recounted the past year's achievements. Some of the tangible ones are the restoration of the judiciary, the successful operation in Swat and return of the IDPs, the transfer of powers to Gilgit-Baltistan and the Benazir Income Support Programme. PML-N Information Secretary Ahsan Iqbal, however, feels the period was marked by failures, corruption and lack of the government's will to honour commitments. Many others within Pakistan would also find the President unconvincing.