It would be nothing short of a miracle – though Pakistan has seen many of those - that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family rise unscathed in the aftermath of the storm better known as the ‘Panama leaks’. The Prime Minister turned to face the nation in an address and announced a Judicial Commission to investigate whether any illegal action was committed to acquire billions of dollars of assets by his family members and stocking these funds into offshore accounts.

That might be well and good except for a fatal flaw in this course of action; it would only have any real credibility if the Judicial Commission was appointed by the Apex Court, instead of a cohort of retired judges appointed by the PM himself. If the PM really wants to purge himself and his family of charges of corruption, tax evasion, undeclared assets and lying to the Election Commission of Pakistan as well as the Pakistani people who voted for him, then he has to put the matters into the hands of real auditors and viable courts. That is something he would probably never consider, as transparency has never been one of his strong suits.

While it is the PM’s right to protect himself and the integrity of his office, maligning a charitable institution to deflect the heat coming his way was not the most responsible way to do so, and has already backfired to make the PML-N seem petty. The government team yesterday launched a counter-allegation campaign against the PTI chief for his alleged offshore investment, claiming that he has been misusing the charity funds collected for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH), losing the funds in a real estate business in Oman. Even if this had any truth in it, now was the wrong time, and it made the PM and his party look desperate.

While the truth behind the matter is yet to be investigated, PTI Chief Imran Khan has tackled the allegation head on, addressing the National Assembly and demanding that his message be given media coverage. He denied vehemently of indulging in any wrongdoing, saying that 40% of the hospital’s funds came from overseas and accounts have been set up abroad to have access to medicines and facilities which are imported. He demanded that an international audit team look into the Sharif’s family wealth.

There is noise that the Sharif family is being unfairly targeted, and that there are many businessmen, judges and politicians in the opposition implicated in the Panama leaks. All must be investigated. There is no denying that the focus is too heavily on the Sharif family, but that is no reason to let them off the hook.