Let it be said that not all U-Turns are bad. Even Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s fiercest rivals have admitted that the Prime Minister took a positive U-Turn recently when his government conceded to the opposition’s demand of making Shahbaz Sharif the new Head of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The announcement came by way of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quereshi, who stated on the floor of the National Assembly on Thursday that Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to not stand in Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif’s way, if he wants to head the PAC. According to Quereshi, “in the larger interest of democracy and in order to make parliament functional”, the government would concede and allow the opposition to elect their choice as the Chairman.

This new statement is a certainly a departure from the government’s previous position- to which they had stubbornly held on for months. Imran Khan had stated that the government could not allow a person who was held in custody by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation- whether fairly or unfairly, since Shahbaz’s investigation has so far not brought up any credible evidence-to head PAC. The opposition parties defied the government and insisted on making Shahbaz the head- following the custom of the Opposition Leader always chairing PAC.

Despite heartfelt declarations from PTI that they would never concede to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), it appears that the party has finally learnt that governance  often means compromise and cooperation with the opposition- and thankfully so. This tussle between the government and opposition over the PAC issue had caused great disturbance in the parliament- non-cooperation between the two blocs had led to no committees being formed- which made parliament almost defunct. The parliament’s main function is legislation- without any committees, and a lack of relationship between the government and opposition, no talk or process of lodging good legislation could come forward on the floor of the assembly, and debates in parliament were reduced to shouting matches and culling unfounded allegations against each other.

The concession by the government has not lost PTI any of its supporters, and has earned good will from PML-N and the opposition, who have granted the government praise for this decision. Hopefully, this shall encourage our politicians to now focus on doing their job and put their talking points to work in the form of proactive legislation.