The cacophony raised by PTI has roused the attention of the nation with reference to the Prime Minister’s finances, but it must not be forgotten that questions about the ownership of the oft-mentioned flats far precedes the Panama Leaks revelations, or Imran Khan’s demands of accountability from the PM.

Many have been waiting for the response of the family in the Supreme Court proceedings, to determine whether the apartments in Mayfair in particular have been purchased — whether by a company, or an individual – using wealth amassed legally. Thus far the court has been told that Maryam Nawaz is only a trustee of Nescoll and Neilson, not the owner, and the apartments have been owned by Hussain Nawaz since 2005 through the two companies. Hassan Nawaz is not involved.

This response will disappoint those looking for an answer to an old Hardtalk query, of how a member of the Sharif family (Hassan Nawaz in 1999) was staying at one of the properties, when Hussain Nawaz claims that the family purchased them in 2005. Nor does it address the fact that Nelson and Neilson have been found to have owned these properties as far back as 1993. Who owned the two offshore companies before the current management? And how did the family come to reside in the apartments owned by the firms before they even owned them? It is these questions that the Supreme Court is seeking satisfactory answers to.

There is a reason as to why PTI’s call for accountability from the Prime Minister and his family has any traction at all – because the sheer value of the flats, and the large sums of money being associated with them are unbelievable for any ordinary Pakistani to imagine. There is no question of legality in owning an offshore company, it is not illegal. The demand for those named in Panama Leaks the word over has been to explain how they amassed their wealth and to lay bare the money trail. What the family must ponder is how documented instances of their connection to the flats – the press conference after the Charter of Democracy was outside one of them – are to be explained. But as has been the case since the PML-N government was last in power in the 90’s, mention of the properties has been met with reticence. The SC it seems has drawn similar conclusions, and will likely also be following the money trail in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the matter. The siblings have now been given till November 15 to offer up more than what has been given so far, and it is hoped that the Sharif family accepts that this is an opportunity to reassure the public once and for all, that any properties ever associated with the first family are legally owned.