Before the Prime Minister jetted off to London to get medical treatment, the political situation in Pakistan was poised for a showdown. The Panama papers had put the Sharif family’s financial peculiarities in sharp relief, and the benefit of doubt rested with the opposition. The global outcry had magnified the government’s problems, and Nawaz Sharif’s hastily televised address, promising transparency and investigation, bound him to the resolution of the upcoming inquest. Either in the courthouse or on the streets, a conflict was inevitable - and the opposition could sense it.

His departure put a halt to all that. Cardiac operations are a serious matter, and the nation - including the begrudging opposition - took a break from the criticism to wish the premier a speedy recovery. Many cynically suggested that the operation was “highly convenient”, and it is easy to see why they would. Nawaz Sharif escaped direct criticism, while the government closed ranks around him and dragged the TOR committee debate into the next month, and then another. Panama stopped being “hot” news, and the ceaseless march of global events diverted the public and the media’s attention.

No doubt the Prime Minister’s camp would have been delighted with this turn of events, but they are not out of the woods yet - the opposition has not been idle and Pakistan is not short of controversies.

The Sharif family’s disastrous decision to appropriate a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) commercial jet when returning to Pakistan turned what would have been a celebrated return into a PR nightmare. Nawaz Sharif was in the thick of things before even setting foot in the country and perhaps more damaging; the focus was back on the family’s extravagant ways.

The opposition meanwhile had been preparing for agitation in the streets since the “Panama inquiry was going nowhere”. The party ranks were ready and the government on the back foot, yet once again, circumstances intervened. Unrest flared up in Kashmir, and the politicians were united across the broad to condemn it - putting aside personal problems for a bigger cause.

In this mix is thrown the Move On Party, whose posters asking Chief of Army Staff to take over have reignited a debate that was done and dusted from the government’s perspective. In the ensuring uncertainty over the poster’s intentions, origins, and sponsorship, the government and opposition have taken to blaming each other - both on edge.

Panama may not be a current issue, but it’s aftereffects remain - a showdown is imminent.