ISLAMABAD -  Hats are off to the Supreme Court of Pakistan for its timely intervention to avert an imminent clash between the government and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which had already acquired an ugly shape in the night-long skirmishes between the KP chief minister-led protesters and the federal government law enforcement agencies.

Although Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak was forced to retreat after heavy tear-gas shelling by the police and other law enforcement agencies at Burhan on Monday night but it was alarming to witness a federating unit fighting against the federation, a very serious matter with negative implications.

Perhaps the gravity of the situation had forced the five-member larger bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali to deviate from normal legal procedure and come up with some out-of-box propositions to resolve the government-PTI standoff.

Though all and sundry were praising the apex court for its timely intervention, yet there were certain voices against the apex court’s intention to frame the ToRs for the constitution of judicial commission for probe into the Panama leaks in case of political forces’ failure to evolve consensus on the issue. According to them, this step on part of the superior judiciary would ultimately land it in controversy.

The legal and constitutional experts also saw a reflection of ‘judicial activism’ in today’s conduct of the superior judiciary despite the fact that it had aborted a sure-shot clash between the government and PTI which was adamant to go for its lockdown call of the federal capital.

But on the other hand, the role and conduct of the political leadership, both in government and opposition, remained disappointing and dismal as they have once again proved that they are not capable of handling things and resolving contentious issues through negotiations.

Due to lack of vision and political sagacity, the political leadership, both in government and opposition, had not realised that by not resolving the issues at the appropriate constitutional forums they would ultimately be undermining and compromising the powers of these institutions.

The legal and constitutional experts said that the best place for resolving the dispute of Panama leaks probe was the Parliament and initially both the government and opposition parties had initiated the exercise of carving a way forward on the issue from the platform of the Parliament but the matter was put in limbo due to the stubbornness and lack of flexibility on both sides.

Their failure to resolve the issue through negotiations led the matter to streets and eventually it landed in the apex court where both the sides had wilfully surrendered their positions as well as Parliament’s powers, which would now decide on its own to frame the terms of reference for the judicial commission to probe the matter.

It is interesting to note here that initially the government had requested the apex court to constitute a judicial commission and also given terms of reference to probe into the Panama Papers revelations, but these were returned back with the direction that these ToRs were too vague to deal with the matter.

Later, the opposition parties had prepared their own set of ToRs and also submitted a bill on Panama leaks probe in the light of these ToRs, which is right now pending with the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice.

It was the tug of war between the government and opposition parties which had ultimately landed them in a position where they had no choice but to surrender all their powers and place them at the mercy of the apex court to resolve the issue at its own.

But both the sides still have time till tomorrow to rectify things by coming up with mutually agreed ToRs to be tabled before the apex court by the day. In this way they could not only save the apex court from landing into controversy at any later stage but also uphold the supremacy of the Parliament and their dignity as mature politicians.