LAHORE - The government is ready to start the accountability process from the prime minister and his family members, but others mentioned in the terms of reference (ToRs) framed for a commission the Chief Justice of Pakistan has been requested to constitute will also have to prove their innocence, the PM’s spokesman said in a TV interview yesterday.

“Let the accountability of the prime minister complete in the first 30, 60 or 90 days. But then all others should also face the process”, said Dr Musadik Malik. “We want accountability of all, without any discrimination”.

The prime minister’s spokesman said this a day before another 400 Pakistanis having offshore companies are likely to be exposed as the second part of the Panama papers are due to be released today (Monday).

In the first part, names of more than 200 Pakistanis, including three children of the prime minister, were made public.

A Pakistani journalist who is part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said in a recent interview that beneficiaries of the infamous National Reconciliation Ordinance, subsequently annulled by the Supreme Court, would be seen in the second part of the leaks. Also, he said there would be many names the people would see in disbelief as they are not expected to be maintaining offshore accounts.

Dr Malik said those whose sisters and sons have admitted they have offshore accounts should also face accountability. People like Jehangir Tareen and Aleem Khan (of PTI) and others who got their loans written off should also face the music, he said.

He said the government wanted to eradicate corruption and its ToRs had been framed with this objective in mind. But, he said, opponents wanted to witch-hunt the prime minister, something unacceptable to the government.

It may be pointed out that what has been branded as Panamagate has created a political crisis in the country. Under pressure from the opposition parties, the government sent a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan requesting him to constitute a commission to look into the matter. With this letter the government sent the CJP terms of reference, which opposition parties say are too vast for any commission to handle.

The opposition parties have framed their own ToRs, which are not acceptable to the government as their focus is on the prime minister and his family.

The two sides have not been able to resolve differences on the subject, because of which there is a deadlock and people are making their own speculations about the likely scenarios that can emerge in the near future.

The government is in no mood to succumb to the opposition’s pressure.

The chief justice of Pakistan was expected to take up the government’s letter immediately after his return from a foreign visit last week. However, for reasons best known to him he has taken no action so far.

It’s not clear whether any commission would be set up during the current week.

Political allies of the PML-N have assured the prime minister of their full support. At a meeting in Islamabad on Saturday, the participants decided not to take up the matter in parliament.

Constitutional experts say that the apex court cannot change the ToRs sent by the government, despite the prime minister’s point of view to the contrary.

One senior lawyer who did not like to be named said that the Supreme Court could convert the government’s letter – or any other letter to be sent by any other party - into a petition under Article 184 (3) and have the Panamagate investigated. Without converting it into a petition, he said, the apex court could not have the matter investigated.

Investigation, he said, falls in the jurisdiction of the executive, not judiciary.