All is well in the circles of power – or at least it will be. A meeting between the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday night has been described as “fruitful” by a military spokesperson. More meetings are expected, and with them, the promise that all will be normal. While a fruitful meeting between the two men is exactly what the nation wants to see after an ugly public spat, the question here is for who is this meeting fruitful?

More will become clear over the coming weeks, but an initial reading of the comments from the meeting, where the COAS presented the “military’s reservations” and the Prime Minister accommodated them, further adding that respect and sanctity of the Armed Forces was dear to him and he would not tolerate anyone harm the institution in any form or shape seems to suggest a rather well-trodden and familiar script to the meeting. The oft-mentioned “civil-military imbalance” is as uneven as ever, and another nudge was given to it on Friday to keep it that way.

While some commendation is in order for solving this disagreement between the institutions “amicably” and quickly, the fact that the institutions needed to play out this power game on a public stage is still deplorable. After all these years the communication, the relationship between the two institutions should be better. The talk of back channels and moderated meetings is usually reserved for negotiations with terrorist groups and warring states, not when institutions under the same governments disagree.

For the future this communication needs to be perfected, and the military may need to be the one to take the lead – under no circumstances it is acceptable for a subservient institution to reject lawful orders by a superior office, less so publically. This is the bedrock of the constitution. It is impossible for anyone – from the public, foreign governments and investors – to have confidence in the stability of Pakistan when the military can still so openly oppose the government, even when warranted. Considering the statement by the COAS at the Friday meeting that the ISPR tweet was an “institutional and not a personal opinion” only enforces this perception.

The government is not blameless either, this spat and the weakening of its position, could have been avoided had it maintained proper communication and got all parties on board.

The Prime Minister and the COAS need to get their act together, the constant friction between their institutes is grating the rest of the nation too.