THE constitutional reforms package seems to be nearing realisation but certain questions remain. When it is tabled before and passed by parliament, it will have restored the balance of powers between the president and prime minister in favour of the latter. However, the package as presently envisaged will do a lot more besides and the Constitution will look different from the original 1973 Constitution that all democratic forces seek to revive in its entirety. Herein also lies the problem since some parties have serious issues with some of the reforms - ranging from the mechanism of appointing the judges to the higher judiciary to autonomy to the concurrent list. They have already given their dissenting notes while assuring they will not impede the passage of the reforms. Still, these dissenting notes will reflect a lack of consensus and could become a source of future tampering with the Constitution again. Even more debilitating is the issue of the renaming of the NWFP. On this issue, unless there is consensus, the reforms package could become a source of political conflict. The ANP, has threatened not only a negative vote but also leaving the coalition unless it is satisfied on the renaming of NWFP issue. This brings up the whole game that President Zardari has been playing with the nation since the restoration of democracy. Instead of simply focusing on removing the aberrations made to the Constitution by military dictators, he sought to buy time for himself as an all-powerful President. So he reneged on his commitment to the Charter of Democracy that he had made to Nawaz Sharif in Bhurban. Instead, he set about seeking a complete overhaul of the Constitution including the most controversial and divisive issue of renaming of the NWFP. As the parties got embroiled in this issue, the President held on to his powers till he weakened his own position through other developments. Meanwhile, by sending the whole issue of a comprehensive constitutional reforms package to parliament, he also put the ball firmly in parliaments court. This is not to deny that here is a need for some basic constitutional amendments beyond the dictatorial tamperings but surely the need was to first move on the issues on which there was already a national consensus and a clear electoral mandate. It is a supreme irony that the issues at the centre of the national consensus - that the dictatorial distortions to the 1973 Constitution be removed by the democratic dispensation - have been lost sight of altogether in the storm created by the present extensive reforms package that threatens to undermine the restoration of the balance of power in a proper parliamentary system.