When the Panama papers story broke, and the Prime Minister and his family were heavily implicated, Nawaz Sharif promptly addressed the nation; solemnly promising that the issue will be investigated with utmost diligence and speed.

Yet here we are. A few months from that sad appearance on television there has not been a single iota of progress on the Panama issue. The government continues to back out of agreements, delay proceedings and divert attention from what had been a serious scandal. It is a shame to see the entirety of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the government accountability bodies – like the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) – protecting the prima facie wrongdoing of the Sharif family like it is their sworn duty to do so.

In this scenario the opposition cannot be blamed if it decides to look to alternative means – including taking to the streets. Indeed, it looks like that is what they intend to do. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has decided, in principle, to pull out of the parliamentary committee on the Panama Papers commission and file references seeking disqualification of five members of the Sharif family, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, from parliament. Meanwhile, Dr Yasmin from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has filed a reference seeking Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from the National Assembly on Friday.

Their case is simple, the declared assets, taxes, and properties of the Sharif family do not match the ones they own, and hence they must be disqualified by the ECP. The body has the right to make such a decision without any input from the government, and unless pressure from the PML-N illegally stops it from taking up the cases, this issue will go through.

The ECP is the least of the government’s worries. The opposition plans to take to the street if there is any more disruption to legal investigation; and this time PTI will not be alone. Senior PPP leader Atizaz Ahsan said on Friday “I have already stated that I am making efforts to bring all the opposition (parties) on a single container,” while naming the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP) as potential partners.

Any street protest this time will be bigger than what PML-N endured during the dharna, and without the crucial support of the PPP, it will find it hard to withstand the pressure. This time, PML-N will not even have the support of the neutrals and the intelligentsia. Everybody knows the facts of Panama papers, and everybody can see the dirty tactics the party is playing.