ISLAMABAD - Neither Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will step down nor will the assemblies be dissolved, ruling PML-N decided yesterday – in a meeting held to review the situation after the JIT report.

The huddle of select party leaders held at the Prime Minister’s House, also reaffirmed the resolve to contest the JIT report in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, as they believed the report was full of flaws and lacunae.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also called the federal cabinet meeting today (Thursday) wherein the premier would take the cabinet members into confidence on the latest developments in Panama Papers revelations case and the government’s strategy on - it both on legal and political fronts.

Sources said that the federal cabinet would repose confidence in the leadership of the premier and reiterate the party’s position that Nawaz should not step down till final decision on the case by the apex court.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, daughter of the prime minister, in her latest tweet also said that the prime minister would not step down. Claiming that the PM had not done corruption of even a single penny in all of his five terms, she questioned those demanding his resignation that why he should resign.

It was also decided in the PML-N meeting that the party leadership would approach the leadership of other parliamentary parties and take them into confidence on the latest developments on the issue.

Sources said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would himself be meeting the heads of different parliamentary parties, including Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Asfandyar Wali, Farooq Sattar, Mahmood Achakazi, Fazlur Rehman and Ejazul Haq to take them into confidence on the government strategy for dealing with the matter in legal and constitutional arenas.

The legal team of the government shed light on the contradictions and lacunae in the JIT report and it was decided that a comprehensive rebuttal on the probe body’s findings would be submitted to the apex court, where a team of senior lawyers under the head of Khawaja Haris advocate would plead the prime minister’s case.

Sources said that the extreme position taken on the issue by Pakistan People’s Party also figured in the meeting and it was decided that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar would approach Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah and explain to him the government’s point of view.

On the other hand, the ruling party leaders continued bashing the JIT and its report on the media, terming it part of a greater conspiracy to dislodge the PML-N government.

Sources in the party said that the option of prime minister’s resignation never came up for discussion in Wednesday’s meeting as all in attendance were of the view that the government must follow the legal course on the matter and take up their case in public to save the public image of the party and the prime minister from taints.

Sources informed that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s arrival in the meeting was delayed due to bad weather.

When asked about the continuous absence of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan from such important meetings, the sources said the loyalty of Nisar with the party was above board but he - along with a good number of other senior party leaders - was opposed to the policy being adopted by the government following the tabling of JIT report.

Sources said that a group within the party was not in favour of adopting confrontational course and wanted the party to contest the legal battle and not lock horns with other institutions. But since the majority of the leaders with hawkish tendency wanted to tread confrontational course and play it up in the media, the people like Ch Nisar would be staying away.

Some media channels aired the news of meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Ch Nisar, which was denied by the interior ministry’s spokesman.

But sources insisted that a meeting between the two did take place late Tuesday night as both Shehbaz and Nisar wanted to resolve the issue and were opposed to the confrontation with the state institutions.