LAHORE - What new position the government takes Monday to address the Panama leaks issue will shape the fresh line of action of the opposition which has claimed its victory on the matter after refusal of the chief justice to form a commission following the government TORs.

The opposition parties said Monday’s address of the prime minister to the Parliament could decide the “make or break” of the democratic process. The opposition expects that the PM would exhibit some maturity and try to distance himself from his party’s so-called hawkish elements to save democracy.

The prime minister is likely to take a new position regarding the TORs in his address to form the Panama leaks probe commission.

Latif Khosa, a senior leader of PPP which is leading the opposition in the Parliament, talking to The Nation yesterday, said, “The commission to probe the Panama leaks should be formed by an act of parliament. We hope the prime minister will show some maturity and avoid leading the country to the era of undemocratic rule.”

“There is every possibility that democratic process will derail if the prime minister listens to his hawks that are bent upon a lethal confrontation between the government and opposition to lead the situation to point of no return,” he added.

“PPP and other opposition parties will be more than ready to cooperate with the government if it expresses readiness to form a commission by an act of parliament which will give it a legal cover and strength,” Khosa said.

The CJP said a commission for an extensive inquiry could not be formed under “Commission of Inquiries Act, 1956, and there must be a larger forum whose option is not available in TORs of the government.

PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the paper that his party would spell its position only after a meeting of the combined opposition on Monday (tomorrow) to be held in the federal capital.

“I can’t reveal new position of the party unless we meet other opposition parties on Monday to decide a joint action,” said the PTI leader in its brief comment.

ANP spokesman Zahid Khan, talking to the paper, said, “There is no other option available with the government and the opposition than to cooperate with each other for drafting consensus-based TORs which will serve the purpose of investigation as well as across-the-board accountability.”

He said the prime minister must not drag the matter any further and Monday should be its deadline to save democracy from derailing once again.

MQM central leader Kanwar Naveed Jamil, when contacted, said, “The chief Justice can take suo motu notice to direct the government to form the TROs on such a big scale. “I think the Supreme Court has the power to give directions to the government on this matter. The apex court can also ask the parliament to make an amendment in the law or enact a new act to deal with the situation,” he opined.

The prime minister may come up with a proposal to form TORs by taking on board the opposition to resolve the issue and defuse the tension to save democracy, he added.

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, chief of Awami Muslim League, said in his forecasting tone on phone, “Monday will be the most important day in the history of the sitting government. The day will decide whether the ruling family wants to move forward or repeat the mistakes of the past.”

The ruling family cannot look beyond its personal interests and they didn’t learn any lesson from the past. Keeping in view the ruling family’s track-record, it didn’t seem that they would act responsibly in the future. Panama leaks will leak the boat of the ruling family and they would lose the power much before next elections, he added.

Ameer-ul-Azeem, JI central leader, giving his party position, said, “What new position the prime minister takes in the parliament will shape the opposition’s fresh line of action. The Monday session will be an important sitting.”

The government and opposition should sit together for coming with consensus-based TORs. But the government must express flexibility as the ball is in their court after the chief justice’s remarks. There is no harm if a constitutional amendment is made for this purpose, he added.

A PML-Q spokesman said, “Whatever action his party takes is being decided with the consensus of the combined opposition which will meet on Monday (tomorrow) in the federal capital.”