If both the military and the government could step out of their institutional skins and see their recent “disagreement” from above, they would see what the rest of the country – and definitely the world – sees; two obstinate sides locked in a juvenile quest to have the last word.

Call it what they may – suggestions, clarifications, dialogue – but this tit-for-tat is fooling no one. What started off as a routine expression of displeasure by the government against an act by a subordinate body - as is norm around the globe – has turned into a pitched battle. This is pushback against a pushback; a game of brinkmanship to see who backs down first.

Both should. It is unnecessary and unprofessional; most importantly perhaps, it is plain silly. At this point the substantive arguments from each side do not matter, what matters is that the two most important institutes of a nuclear armed nation need to stop bickering with other publically.

With challenges abound the civilian and military leadership must work together, and if that is proving to be difficult in the face of disagreements, then those must be resolved away from the eyes of the public. The military is clearly aware of the “coup talk” in the air; how every civil-military move is being seen through the lens of the notorious “balance of power:. If it were not then Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor wouldn’t have to assure journalists several times over that the army would not take “extra-constitutional” steps in his latest press conference. Yet, knowingly, it continues to fire back.

The effects are already visible, private entities – like the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) – and politicians – like Asif Ali Zardari - are already pitching their lot with one party or the other to further their own political goals. More will follow. The divide is getting deeper by the day.

Once the daily press conferences and indignant rhetoric stops, we can begin unraveling the substantive issues in a calmer, methodical fashion.

Admittedly, the civilian government is not brilliant at managing the economy. Alongside their many economic successes the government has also made many miscalculations. The present balance of payments strain, export crisis and market uncertainty is testament to that. While that does invite comment and criticism, that criticism must not come from the military, at least publically.

No one side is to blame for this unsavory situation – both are. Recognizing that, both need to let cooler heads prevail.