LAHORE - The political uncertainty in the country is growing by the day as the ruling coalition and the opposition alliance have failed so far to agree to any mechanism to establish whether those named in the Panama papers, released in two parts, had committed any illegality, and if so, how they should be proceeded against.

The ruling coalition is trying to delay the matter on one pretext or the other, which is creating an impression (right or wrong) that the prime minister is unable to defend his children, notwithstanding his claims to the contrary.

Another reason behind the delaying tactics is the ruling party leaders’ hope that with the passage of time the matter would be overtaken by some new development or differences among the opposition parties would make further action on the Panamagate difficult.

The assessment is not totally baseless.

Already, PTI Chairman Imran Khan has urged the National Accountability Bureau to take action against the prime minister and his family members named in the Panama papers, a demand which amounts to a departure from the demand for a judicial commission the opposition parties want set up with the Chief Justice of Pakistan as its head.

Similarly, PPP leader Khursheed Shah’s statements show that the opposition party in both houses of parliament may agree to the formation of a parliamentary committee to sort out the matter. Such signals are also against the collective demand of the opposition parties.

The shift from the collective stand of the opposition parties, as indicated by both the PTI and the PPP leaders, means that if the deadlock continued for some more time, more parties in the opposition bloc may come up with their own points of views, a development that the ruling coalition would celebrate.

Some people say that the NAB should exercise its powers and take a suo motu notice of the Panamagate on the basis of media reports. But informed NAB sources say that it is a grey area.

There is no possibility of the NAB taking up the matter on its own. However, the sources say if some complaint is lodged with the anti-graft watchdog or if the government writes it a letter, the Bureau will take it up.

“This is not necessarily an issue of ill-gotten money. The issue is whether the assets pointed out in the Panama papers were justified,” the sources said.

As the clock is ticking, some developments adversely affecting the interests of the government have also been witnessed.

For example, civil-military relations are not normal at all and Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif has reportedly asked the prime minister to resolve the Panamagate controversy at the earliest as “it is causing instability and insecurity”.

Media reports say that he conveyed the pointed message to the prime minister in a one-on-one meeting on Tuesday, before another huddle on national security at the PM House. Although the PM House denies that the COAS said anything like that at his meeting with the premier, military sources have not denied the media reports. And the ISPR’s silence has caused more embarrassment to the government, as it affirms that the military leadership’s viewpoint is closer to the opposition parties’ demand.

The government has faced another embarrassment because of the Supreme Court’s silence on the prime minister’s letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan requesting him to set up a judicial commission to look into the matter. Whatever the reason behind the apex court’s lack of action, the government will remain under attack unless the matter is resolved one way or the other.

The NAB’s recent action against some bureaucrats, including Finance Secretary, Balochistan, is also a cause of embarrassment for the government.

Not long ago, the prime minister had bitterly criticised the NAB for its action against some traders and officials as a result of which, he had said, bureaucrats had stopped taking decisions on files pending with them. He had told the NAB to remain within its limits or the government would clip its wings.

The arrest of Balochistan finance secretary and the recovery of cash and jewellery worth Rs 670 million has established that the NAB must play an effective role against the corrupt elements.