ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is weighing up its options as it braces itself for a possible protest movement under the aegis of the joint opposition in connection with the Panama leaks. It’s the top priority of the ruling party to create a rift between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to blunt the protest movement. The second option is to put Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the saddle of premiership for the remaining period and take an impartial investigation into the Panama leaks forward.According to the well-placed sources in the federal capital, the establishment supported Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as well as the Punjab chief minister to become the prime minister of Pakistan in case of an in-house change in the wake of the Panama leaks. The interior minister would be a strong candidate for the office of the Punjab chief minister if Shahbaz Sharif becomes the prime minister of Pakistan. Sources told Daily Times that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was having consultations with his close aides in London before giving a final shape to the future plan of action. The prime minister and his close aides have not taken any decision about their return to Pakistan from the United Kingdom so far, but prime minister’s family is keen to returning home two days before Eid-ul-Fitr. Some of prime minister’s aides are asking him to return home immediately after Eid.A foreign TV channel says the prime minister wants to return home in August because he plans to do some important things in London before his departure. The prime minister and his aides who are currently in London are in contact with the Punjab chief minister and the interior minister. The ruling PML-N is trying hard to separate the PPP from the aggressive PTI and it is using the Charter of Democracy for this purpose. Key ministers of the PML-N and leaders have held meetings with the senior PPP leadership in this regard, but the PPP-PTI alliance seems to be gaining strength.The powers that be have also backed the formula of prime minister’s resignation and appointment of Shahbaz Sharif as prime minister if the opposition launches a protest movement after Eid. The interior minister has also supported this formula. Informed sources said that some PML-N leaders proposed that Ahsan Iqbal, federal minister for planning, development and reform, should be made the prime minister for a brief period, but this proposal was rejected. They said that Iqbal refused outright to take this responsibility.Sources said that prime minister’s office would be handed over to Shahbaz Sharif only if the opposition launches an effective protest movement. The PPP leadership is not happy with the possible change of guard at Prime Minister’s House because it has never been at good terms with the interior minister or the Punjab chief minister. Nawaz Sharif’s removal as prime minister may create problems for the PPP as well.On the other hand, the change of guard formula is also acceptable to the PTI.Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif are strongly opposed to the possible in-house change. There is a general impression within the PML-N that Shahbaz Sharif and Nisar Ali Khan back the party leaders who rebelled against Maryam, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Asif.