LAHORE - Will PTI Chairman Imran Khan be able to mount enough pressure on the government to set up a judicial commission with Chief Justice of Pakistan as its head to probe the allegations in Panama leaks against the prime minister’s family?

No. Apparently, his task is getting more and more difficult with the passage of time as various parties are changing their stance on this important issue either to get some immediate benefits or serve their long-term interests. Which party (parties) will stand by the PTI when it ultimately comes out against the rulers in the light of the line of action it is scheduled to announce on April 24 can’t be predicted at this stage.

The position of various parties on the subject is as follows:

The PPP which is playing the role of opposition both in the Senate and the National Assembly, has a soft corner for the PML-N leadership, which is being reviled because of the prime minister’s sons offshore accounts.

Until recently, the PPP was crying hoarse that it would play the role of a real opposition party. Bilawal, who now leads the party, had chanted “Go Nawaz go” slogans and announced that he would take necessary steps to revive the party. It was perhaps because of this decision that Aitzaz Ahsan and Syed Khursheed Shah had vehemently criticized the PML-N leadership after the surfacing of the Panama papers.

But now the party appears to be even friendlier to the PML-N than it was before. Mr Shah has called for the formation of a parliamentary committee to look into the offshore companies. What a ‘wonderful’ idea, coming from a man who, many allege, had started his career as a WAPDA meter reader but now owns assets worth billions.

Parliamentarians would confront the all powerful prime minister on the issue of his sons’ offshore companies. There can’t be a more stupid expectation.

The shift in the PPP’s policy is understandable. The PML-N, despite countless promises, had made no serious effort to bring back the much talked about $6 million of Mr Zardari from the Swiss banks. Also, as opposition party the PML-N had created no problem for the PPP government, because of which it could complete its five-year mandated term in 2013.

The PPP’s policy on Sharifs offshore companies is nothing but reciprocity. This policy would certainly bring more benefits. A number of party leaders facing cases, Dr Asim Husain being one of them, may expect some relief once the situation changes. Isn’t it a good quid pro quo?

The JUI-F headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman has left every other party behind as far as the politics of expediency is concerned. This party has always harvested benefits whenever the government faced any crisis. Ideology is alien to the leadership of this party.

During the 2008-13 rule of the PPP, Maulana Fazlur Rehman got Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani appointed as chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology. The leader from Balochistan is still holding the office during the PML-N rule.

The party had opposed the PTI-PAT’s 2014 sit in Islamabad and was duly rewarded. Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri was elected deputy chairman of the Senate with the help of the PML-N.

And now that the PML-N again faces a difficult situation, Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s younger brother, who was a Grade 18 DCO, has been appointed as Commissioner Afghan refugees, a Grade 20 post.

At the same time the JUI-F chief, who is also Kashmir Committee chairman, has proceeded on a 10-day foreign visit to highlight the Kashmir issue. There couldn’t be a ‘better’ time to highlight this longstanding dispute between Pakistan and India.

The Maulana will be still out of the country when the Jamaat-i-Islami and the PTI would be announcing on April 24 their future course of action in the light of the Panama leaks.

The JUI-F was with other religious parties on the issue of women’s protection law. But now that issue has gone into the background and the Maulana is both with the opponents of the law as well its proponent (the government). The threat of a 1977-like movement again the government is over.

Not every politician can so successfully run with the hare and hunt with the hound.

The MQM has been passing through a difficult phase for quite some time. Altaf Hussain is facing a number of cases, conviction in any one of them can seriously damage the party. The Karachi operation has also weakened its position, although its parliamentary strength is intact to a large extent. But Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party is causing defections from the MQM. A number of sitting MPs have already quit the MQM and joined hands with the PSP, leveling serious allegations against Altaf and others.

Until recently the party demanded invocation of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution against the prime minister for concealing wealth in offshore companies. But to save itself from any further damage and to get some relief for those facing various cases, the party has changed its policy. Now it is fully behind the PM-N.

The ANP is already a staunch rival of the PTI – and a supporter of the PML-N.

The PML-Q’s stand on the Panama leaks probe through a parliamentary committee is also different from that of the PTI. Although its stance doesn’t tally with the ruling PML-N’s, it certainly reflects differences among the opposition parties.

The Jamaat is with the PTI but will not like to join a sit-in outside the palaces of the Sharifs.

In the light of the above, Imran cannot create much of a problem for the government, especially when his party is also facing a crisis-like situation because of internal elections.