The political atmosphere in the country was suddenly electrified on Wednesday when the ISPR issued a statement questioning the wisdom of the Prime Minister’s remark, that the COAS and the ISI chief's replies to the Supreme Court on the memogate scandal, were not routed through the appropriate authority. Mr Gilani had added that any official action by a government functionary without the approval of the government was unconstitutional and illegal. The army took umbrage at Mr Gilani’s observations made in an interview with Chine Online TV, at a time when General Kayani was in China on a five-day official visit. The ISPR’s press release maintained that his remarks carried “serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences for the country”. Hot on the heels of this development, the TV channels flashed the news that the Brigadier heading the 111 brigade had been replaced, which set a flurry of speculations rolling. This brigade is generally associated with action when the army intends toppling the government. Soon after, the Prime Minister terminated the contract of Lt-General (retd) Lodhi as Defence Secretary. Political leaders, fearing a coup on the horizon put their heads together to formulate reactions.

Mr Gilani’s statement added confusion to an already prevailing, tense situation. Added to that was the Attorney General’s interview to a local daily, in which he opines that there has been no violation of rules in General Kayani and Lt-General Pasha’s submission of replies and that the Prime Minister has misjudged the issue. As of now, the situation remains volatile, though it was somewhat defused when Mr Gilani told reporters that the ISPR’s press release was approved by him. The public is keeping its fingers crossed; and the politicians of all affiliations continue to consult each other. All eyes are set on the Monday hearing of the Supreme Court on the NRO as well as memogate cases.

Tension has been running high between the civilian and military authorities since 2009, starting with controversial clauses in the Kerry-Lugar bill (now an act of US Congress), in which aid was to be routed through the civilian government, instead of being allotted directly to the military. Attempts at a patch-up, made from time to time, failed to bring positive results because they were not accompanied by a sincere acceptance of each other's constitutional roles. It was in this climate of suspicion that the scandal of a memo, confirmed to be delivered by Admiral Mike Mullen, erupted on the scene, and both the government and the army filed their differing views on the memo to the Supreme Court.

As the country is confronted with multiple challenges, the prolonging of the present climate of uncertainty would not leave us unharmed. Sanity lies in a serious commitment to law and Constitution. Since, to all intents and purposes, early general elections are agreed, we should set aside differences and let the electorate decide.