What was billed as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) greatest test – passing a constitutional amendment through a divided Parliament, regarding a contentious subject, on a time limit – is proving to be a far less daunting challenge. As the federal Cabinet swings its attention towards making amendments to the Army Act and the Constitution to give a three-year extension to Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, opposition parties are already lining up to pledge their support for the legislation.

A delegation of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders, including the party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, met with the government on Thursday evening to discuss the extension legislation. On the same day a Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) delegation comprising Khawaja Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Rana Tanvir met with the government to talk about the same agenda as well. Both parties, in stark contrast to their political speeches and rhetoric assured the government “their full support”.

It may be uncharacteristic of two parties to concur with the government so easily but ultimately their timely and explicit support for the legislation is the best possible outcome one could have hoped for. A long and unnecessary period of uncertainty has been avoided, as has been the resultant wrangling and conflict. If the government had done its job more competently the issue of the extension would have never arisen in the first place, as such extensions have been a matter of routine in the past. The sooner this matter is put behind us the sooner every institution can go back to functioning normally.

The government would have deserved plaudits in securing a consensus had it done so out of its own violation, but here its hand has been forced. It is hoped that PTI could show the same appreciation for consensus when making other legislation.