Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Rehman Malik announced on Monday that he would quit politics if Panama links were proved – setting a condition that would shorten his career quite drastically. He admits to forming the company “Petroline FZC” with himself, Benazir Bhutto and Hassan Jafferi as directors, but he claims they only did legitimate business with the UN and that at no point did they have an account in Panama.

The glaring question is; aren’t the Panama papers proof in themselves? They show quite clearly that the Senator had a company registered in Panama; what more does he need – a printed copy of the leaked documents that bear his name? The leaked documents from the firm Mossack & Fonseca are taken as legitimate proof world over, from England to India, only the Senator feels that the papers are a “RAW conspiracy against him”. Did RAW also conspire against Amitab Bachan – the Indian movie star whose name is also in the papers – or the Prime Minister of Iceland? It is evident that the Senator hasn’t thought his excuses through.

This duplicity in belief is more disconcerting when we consider that the PPP – to whom Rehman Malik belongs to – spent the majority of the past parliamentary session attacking the Prime Minister viciously for having offshore companies on the basis of the same papers. Either the papers are a conspiracy and everyone, including the Prime Minister, is innocent or they are true and everyone, including Rehman Malik, is implicated. The Senator must make up his mind.

Such a childish defence by the Senator would have been flayed by the media had they not been fixated on the Prime Minister. Similarly, the other Pakistani’s implicated in the tax evasion racket – over 200 of them – must be thanking their lucky stars that the Prime Minister is involved in the scandal too; otherwise the scrutiny against them would have been much higher.

The opposition wants to see heads roll, but it must remember that the issue at hand is the wider practice of tax evasion, not just the dishonest practices of the sitting government. Several major businessmen have also been implicated – such as real estate mogul Malik Riaz’s son, Chairman ABM Group of Companies Azam Sultan, the Abdullah family of Sapphire Textiles, Mehmood Ahmed of Berger Paints and Sultan Ali Allana, Chairman of Habib Bank Limited. Similarly a sitting Lahore High Court judge, Justice Farrukh Irfan and some owners of media houses have companies registered offshore.

If the Prime Minister is under the spotlight, then all the politicians, wealthy businessmen and government officials must face the heat too – their actions are no less immoral.