It is not clear whether it was the resulting uproar, the government’s earnestness to not fracture the progress made in civil-military ties or something else that prompted the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) to “withdraw” its tweet about rejecting the government’s notification following the Dawn leaks report. The ISPR’s press release took back the incendiary words on Wednesday, a welcome development. The fact that this statement should not have been made in the first place is a moot point; wisdom and better sense finally prevailed, and its positive effects on democracy are to be thankful for.

The government on its part, and more specifically Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, are to be lauded for dealing with the episode in the most mature way possible. Ignoring the action altogether, and sticking to his tour of ground-breaking and inaugurating infrastructural projects without sparing any words over the issue, ensured that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) did not unnecessarily fan any fires. Keeping his nose to ground and working while the country was going into a frenzy over the controversial tweet was the best approach, as proven in hindsight.

Of course, none of this would have been possible if the PML-N leadership and its workers were not kept tightly in line. A single statement or misconstrued remark by any minister, partly leader or worker of the PML-N could have potentially brought the civilian government and the military to a path of conflict.

In this entire affair, while most – from the government to the ISPR – have come out unscathed, the unfortunate casualties in the persons Rao Tehseen and Tariq Fatemi are to be deeply regretted. Both have publicly stated that they will challenge the commission’s findings, as is their right, but the damage to their long and unblemished careers has already been done.

Ultimately, this is one of the examples of how state institutions can often forget that the supremacy of the civilian government is absolute and cannot be challenged by an institution that reports to it. Hopefully this will be forgotten, a perturbing faux pas in the history of the nation’s discourse. The only real way to prevent this from happening altogether is to allow for civilian governance to continue uninterrupted long term – if state institutions defer to the civilian government, as is the constitutional requirement, they cannot consider “rejecting” notifications from the PM House as and when they see fit.