ISLAMABAD - Ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) seems eased out of the stormy situation created by the revelations of Panama Leaks and managed to bring opposition parties in the arena of their choice.

On one hand Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his comrades have engaged the joint opposition in a dialogue process at the forum of the Parliament while on the other they are actively engaged in creating cracks in the joint opposition and met with initial success of getting Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) part of the joint opposition six-member team becoming part of the 12-member parliamentary committee with equal representation from opposition and treasury.

Parliamentary sources informed The Nation that the inclusion of MQM member as part of the joint opposition team in the 12-member parliamentary committee, to search for a way forward to break the deadlock of the government and opposition on the probe of Panama revelations, was the first setback to the joint opposition because MQM was starkly differing with opposition on the issue and could ditch it at any time.

These sources further said that joint opposition was compelled to accept MQM as part of the opposition despite knowing the fact that it could ditch them in the formulation of terms of reference for the proposed judicial commission or planning legislation to make the judicial commission effective and powerful as hinted in the letter of Chief Justice of Pakistan addressed to Prime Minister refusing to form ‘toothless’ commission under the Inquiry Commission Act 1956.

Parliamentary sources said that the Prime Minister and his close political aides, who seemed panicked and unnerved soon after the Panama Leaks disclosure, seemed relaxed with the recent developments as now they would come in a position to stretch the matter beyond the stipulated period of two-week time given to the committee to finalise the TORs and other things to proceed forward on the whole saga.

An opposition leader, who is part of the committee, feared that government would try to dictate their points in the committee and MQM member in the committee may support some of the points favourable to the ruling alliance.

A source in the government said that they would go by the book but at the same time would not show any flexibility in framing of TORs to the opposition, adding that they want the formulation of TORs and way forward while remaining within the precincts of law and constitution.

The 12-member committee would be initiating its work from Monday and would suppose to complete the task assigned to it within two weeks time but some legal and constitutional experts said that it would not be possible for the committee to complete the task in such a brief time when both sides are poles apart on the issue.

A senior parliamentarian from opposition feared that the proposed committee would likely end up in a deadlock as neither the government nor the joint opposition seem ready to show flexibility to carve out a middle course on the issue.

He further said that the government team would insist to widen the scope of probe from misuse of authority, corruption by politicians and all other public office holders since 1947 while the opposition would want the focus of the probe on Panama Papers revelations so with such a divergent position taken by both sides it seemed almost impossible for both sides to converge at some common ground.