In these polarising political times, when political rivals publicly declare that a certain party’s governance will not last more than a year, when members of the Opposition are being sent to jail faster than the seasons change, and when parliamentary activity is at a standstill for several months- any leeway between the government and the opposition is a glimmer of hope. After months of parliamentary infighting between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) parliamentarians with Opposition members, which resulted in no standing committees being formed, it looks like the parliamentarians finally got their acts together yesterday and sat down for a resolution.

According to reports, the government and opposition parties in the parliament have finally sliced a deal on distribution of standing committees chairmanship; under the plan, 19 out of 40 standing committees would be headed by opposition parties MPs. During a meeting of the parliamentarians in the chair of Speaker National Assembly Asad Qasir, it was decided that opposition parties would be given the chairmanship of standing committees on industry and production, communication, privatisation, defence production, to name a few.

It can be seen that the government made some concessions. This allocation of committees allows the Opposition one extra committee than usual-previous tradition distributed only 18 standing committees to the right side of the bench. Moreover, due to criticism of the Prime Minister for his continuous absence from the Parliament, the PTI parliamentarians have promised that with the formation of the standing and parliamentary committees, the Premier would start attending the parliament on regular basis. It should also not be forgotten that the government retracted its refusal to make Shahbaz Sharif the PAC Chairman, and allowed the Opposition Leader to chair one of the most important committees. Yet the government was careful not to give in to all of the opposition’s demands. The standing committees on foreign affairs, defence, finance and other committees would remain with the government and it is unlikely that the treasury will allow Bilawal Bhutto to chair the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as per PPP’s wishes.

Will this peace between politicians last long enough for the committees to finalise and can such bitter rivals set aside their differences and come together when the time comes to drafting legislation? So many turbulences with the opposition in these few months of governance has made us cynical. We can only advise the parliamentarians to put aside politics and commit to this newfound peace- the stars, however, do not seem in our favour.