LAHORE - A crisis-like situation that gripped the country over the last two weeks because of the ISPR director general’s apparently hostile reaction to the prime minister’s April 29 directive for action against some characters involved in the Dawn leak came to an end on Wednesday after a meeting between the civil and military leaderships, following which the military spokesman withdrew the tweet that had embittered relations between the two sides.

Gen Asif Ghafoor told a news conference that “recommendations, as contained in Para 18 of the Inquiry Committee Report, duly approved by the prime minister, have been implemented, which has settled the Dawn leak issue.”

In other words, the army has now accepted the same it had rejected earlier. And no further action is in the offing on the basis of the inquiry report.

What the ISPR DG said at the news conference in support of the democratic system and the authority of the prime minister will certainly strengthen the PML-N government and demoralise the opposition parties that have been struggling to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

For example, the assurance that “Pakistan Army reiterates its firm commitment and continued resolve to uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and support the democratic process” will certainly be a matter of great satisfaction for the government prematurely.

At the news conference questions were also asked about Maryam Nawaz’s alleged role in the Dawn leak issue and absence of her name from the inquiry report. However, the ISPR DG expressed his satisfaction over the action taken on the basis of inquiry report’s recommendations, as a result of which the prime minister’s heiress apparent got a clean chit.

The body language of the prime minister at an event in Nanka Sahib shortly after the civil-military talks reflected that he was satisfied with the resolution of the issue and was least bothered about the opposition’s moves against him.

But despite an amicable settlement of an unfortunate episode, the question is will the government learn some lesson from it? Also, can something be done to avert such a situation in the future?

It will be unrealistic to assume that no such situation will arise in the future – unless an effective mechanism is put in place to improve communications between the civil and military leaderships.

The revival of the National Security Council, set up during Gen Musharraf’s period, can be a very good forum to ward off any misunderstandings between the civilian leadership and the military. The body can serve as a platform to discuss all security-related issues and work out appropriate response thereto.

The NSC had been first proposed by then COAS Gen Jehangir Karamat in 1998 while addressing the Naval War College, Lahore. However, the idea was not acceptable to Mian Nawaz Sharif, who was then in power for a second time. He forced Gen Karamat to resign.

But Gen Musharraf set up the NSC after overthrowing the PML-N government in 1999, which established that it was the institution of the army that was in favour of such a body.

It comprised the president, the prime minister, the Senate chairman, the National Assembly speaker, the leader of the opposition, chief ministers of the provinces, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee plus the chiefs of the army, navy and air force.

When Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani was the prime minister he dissolved the broad-based body for the sake of civilian supremacy, without realising the positive role it could play in promoting interaction between the political leadership and the army.

The defence committee of the cabinet was another forum for consultations between the civilians and the army. It was never utilised properly. The PML-N substituted the DCC with another committee which seldom meets.

Unless some new platform is set up or the existing one is reactivated, harmony of thought between the political and military leaders would remain a dream and the possibility of misunderstandings cannot be ruled out.

The government would also be doing a commendable job by publishing the report of the Dawnk leak inquiry committee. This would provide the nation an opportunity to know who had played what role in the publication of the news item that remained subject of controversy for more than half a year.

Otherwise, speculations about what has been concealed would continue.