ISLAMABAD - Although the Supreme Court’s deferment of hearing in the Panama Leaks case till the first week of January next year has brought momentary relief to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the government seems to be on tenterhooks and is looking for a permanent solution to the tricky issue.

The Panamagate has become a Trojan horse for the ruling party undermining its authority, and to some extent, its legitimacy (given the much hullaballoo in the foreign and local press, at political arena) until the court decides the matter and absolves the premier and his family of charges of keeping off-shore holdings, allegedly siphoning off money from the country to buy the properties.

To remain in power, the PML-N will greatly be relying on the support of the Pakistan People’s Party, which can inject life into any situation, even in case of an unfavourable court verdict.

Background interviews with some senior party leaders in the PML-N and input from credible sources in the party suggest that the prime minister and his close political and legal aides were busy “readjusting” the party’s future line of action after the five-member bench adjourned the hearing in the case directing for ab initio trial under the next chief justice who will assume his responsibilities on December 31. Sources close to the PML-N leadership said that senior party leaders were in contact with the PPP leadership to find a common ground vis-a-vis their four demands.

The sources said that PML-N was ready to accept the first three demands of the PPP while wanted PPP leadership to take back their fourth demand regarding the passage of the PPP-backed Panama inquiry bill till the final decision of the apex court.

The sources said that PML-N also wanted the PPP leadership to extend a helping hand in getting the 24th amendment bill passed by the upper house of the parliament to pave the way for the right of appeal against the verdict in suo motu cases. Although the PPP is an ardent supporter of the right of appeal in suo motu cases, the party was reluctant to extend a helping hand to the government in getting the piece of legislation passed in Senate where the PML-N lacks the requisite two-thirds majority.

The sources in the PPP said that there was a sharp divide within the party over extending support to the PML-N as some hawkish leaders were opposing it on the ground that it would cause irreparable damage to the party’s popularity among the general public while other suggest that the party should clinch a better bargain with government for their support to help pass 24th amendment bill and could also get the PPP proposed Panama leaks bill passed in return.

The sources in the ruling party said that the announcement of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to again mobilise the public on the Panama Leaks issue was also a matter of concern for the ruling party which wanted the resolution of the issue through legal course most probably by a judicial commission.

The sources in the PPP said that the legal wizards of the party were of the view that right now the ruling PML-N was under pressure so they should press the government to accept the PPP-backed Panama leaks bill to get it passed by the parliament to start a probe in the matter under a new law, as according to them the apex court had already declared the 1956 inquiry commission act a toothless law which could hardly help in tackling such a complex issue.

The sources in the ruling PML-N said that the government, though not fully out of the crisis, would not accept the passage of the opposition’s sponsored bill on Panama Leaks issue and would prefer to see the apex court constitute a commission under the existing law for an inquiry into the matter.