Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s appearance at the Supreme Court Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on Thursday is being called a farce by some, but is undoubtedly one of the landmark moments in the history of accountability in the country. A sitting Prime Minister attending the proceedings initiated against his family is no small step, and while a democratic PM has offered up himself for investigation, one can only hope that this trend can be extended to the dictators too; individuals such as General Musharraf should maybe look to present themselves before justice as well, if they want to be absolved of the many crimes they have been accused of.

It is important to remember that the Prime Minister is not up for trial for having stolen the government’s money – as assumed by many – but to determine whether the vast sums of money the family has been earned through legal means. Drawing this distinction is fundamental to the process of accurately determining the innocence or guilt of the first family – assuming that the PM is being investigated for stealing funds from the national kitty is tantamount to finding him guilty without due process.

And if that is the case, Nawaz Sharif’s press conference immediately after his visit to the judicial academy has several points worth merit. If he is being investigated today, there are others that need to be scrutinised in the same way. According to the records released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday, Nawaz Sharif declared assets worth Rs1.62 billion in 2016, while Imran Khan has assets worth Rs1.4 billion; which got to this level in the past five years alone. Strangely enough, Jahangir Tareen, a man perceived by many to be wealthier than Imran Khan, has assets worth Rs786 million – almost half of what his leader has.

And this is exactly why the Prime Minister was perfectly justified in wanting a probe to be initiated against others in the wealthy and influential sect of Pakistani society, his political opponents among them. The second richest lawmaker of Pakistan and currently Nawaz Sharif’s fiercest rival, Imran Khan is a billionaire and does not even have a single car to his name. This might fit him in a very rare category of billionaires – those that supposedly do not have many tangible luxury items we usually associate with the wealthy. And given the PTI Chief’s hectic travel schedules and the use of an extensive array of vehicles (with official helicopters being used on a few occasions) surely PM Sharif is not the only individual who deserves to have his assets scrutinised.

The debate of accountability, transparency and legal wealth were opened up through the advent of the Panama papers, and Imran Khan and PTI had a large part to play in keeping this discourse going long enough for there to be tangible action. Now that they have achieved their purpose, they must also answer questions of their own.