Below are excerpts from the dissenting notes of the Supreme Court’s Panamagate case, written by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
Justice Khosa headed the five member bench which was split 2:3 in its verdict.
“The popular 1969 novel ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo recounted the violent tale of a Mafia family and the epigraph selected by the author was fascinating: Behind every great fortune there is a crime. — Balzac”
The judgement continues: “The novel was a popular sensation which was made into an acclaimed film. It is believed that this epigraph was inspired by a sentence that was written by Honoré de Balzac… as follows:
(The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed)
It is ironical and a sheer coincidence that the present case revolves around that very sentence attributed to Balzac...”
Justice Khosa later added:
"I may, therefore, be justified in raising an adverse inference in the matter. The fortune amassed by respondent No. 1 is indeed huge and no plausible or satisfactory explanation has been advanced in that regard. Honoré de Balzac may after all be right when he had said that behind every great fortune for which one is at a loss to account there is a crime."
"In the above mentioned sorry and unfortunate state of affairs a conclusion has appeared to me to be unavoidable and inescapable that in the matter of explaining the wealth and assets respondent No. 1 has not been honest to the nation, to the nation’s representatives in the National Assembly and even to this Court."
“These petitions had been entertained by this Court in the backdrop of an unfortunate refusal/failure on the part of all the relevant institutions in the country like the National Accountability Bureau, the Federal Investigation Agency, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the Speaker of the National Assembly to inquire into or investigate the matter or to refer the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan against respondent No. 1 [Nawaz Sharif].”
“If this Court stops short of attending to the issue merely because it involves some disputed or intricate questions of fact then the message being sent would be that if a powerful and experienced Prime Minister of the country appoints his loyalists as heads of all the relevant institutions in the country which can inquire into or investigate the allegations of corruption, then a brazen blocking of such inquiry or investigation by such loyalists would practically render the Prime Minister immune from touchability or accountability and that surely would be nothing short of a disaster.”
“It is said that how highsoever you may be the law is above you. It is in such spirit of democracy, accountability and rule of law that this Court would not give a Prime Minister/Chief Executive of the Federation a field day merely because no other remedy is available or practicable to inquire into the allegations of corruption, etc. leveled against him or where such inquiry involves ascertainment of some facts.”
“It had not been disclosed as to how and through which resources the respondent’s father had established 6 new factories within 18 months of nationalization of Ittefaq Foundries, especially when statedly the entire savings of the respondent’s elders stood obliterated and wiped out."
“It is also strikingly noticeable that in that speech there was no mention whatsoever of setting up of any factory in Dubai which was sold in 1980. That speech also failed to disclose any detail of the funds available or procured for setting up of the factory near Makkah.”
“It was maintained in that speech that the funds generated through sale of the factory near Makkah were utilized by respondent No. 1’s sons namely Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif and Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif for setting up their business. It had been maintained by respondent No. 1 that through that speech he had made the entire background of his family’s business clear to his countrymen and that he had informed them about all the important stages of the family’s journey in business."
“He had proclaimed that what he had disclosed were the “true” facts. I have, however, found that that was not the case and unfortunately respondent No. 1 had economized with the truth on that occasion.”
"Even a layman can appreciate, and one does not have to be a lawman to conclude, that what had been told to the nation, the National Assembly or even this Court about how the relevant properties in London had been acquired was not the truth. A pedestrian in Pakistan Chowk, Dera Ghazi Khan (a counterpart of Lord Denning’s man on the Clapham omnibus) may not have any difficulty in reaching that conclusion."
“There was absolutely no explanation offered in that speech as to how the relevant four properties in London had been acquired and respondent No. 1 had never stated on that occasion that he had no concern with the ownership of those properties or that no money belonging to him had been utilized for their acquisition."
"On April 22, 2016 respondent No. 1 addressed the nation again on the subject on radio and television but that speech did not contain any specific information about the resources or assets of the respondent and his family. Again, no explanation whatsoever was offered in that speech as to how the properties in London had been acquired."
"On May 16, 2016 respondent No. 1 read out a written speech in the National Assembly which was broadcast and telecast live on radio and television and this is what he said on that occasion: [4:19] A careful reading of that speech made by respondent No. 1 shows that it was for the first time that any mention had been made therein by the respondent to setting up and sale of a factory in Dubai as no mention of the same had been made by the respondent in his first or second address to the nation on the issue."
"It had been stated in the latest speech that in the year 1999 the entire record of the family’s business had been taken away by the authorities and the same had not been returned despite repeated requests but later on in the same speech respondent No. 1 had categorically stated that the entire record and documents pertaining to the Dubai and Jeddah factories was available and that such record could be produced before any committee or forum!"
“The first address to the nation mentioned setting up of a steel factory near Makkah but the speech made in the National Assembly referred to a steel factory in Jeddah. In the first address to the nation respondent No. 1 had claimed that the proceeds of sale of the steel factory near Makkah had been utilized by his two sons for setting up their business but in the speech made in the National Assembly he had changed his earlier stance and had maintained that the generated resources had been utilized for “purchase” of the flats in London."
"Even in that speech respondent No. 1 had never stated that he had no concern with the ownership of those properties or that no money belonging to him had been utilized for their acquisition.”
"The story about “purchase” of the relevant properties in London had taken yet another turn at a subsequent stage. 78. Although it had specifically and repeatedly been said by respondent No. 1 on the floor of the National Assembly in the above mentioned speech that the entire record relevant to the setting up and sale of the factories in Dubai and Jeddah was available and would be produced whenever required yet when this Court required Mr. Salman Aslam Butt, Sr. ASC, the then learned counsel for respondent No. 1, on December 07, 2016 to produce or show the said record he simply stated that no such record existed or was available and that the statement made by respondent No. 1 in the National Assembly in that respect was merely a “political statement”!"
"It may be pertinent to mention here that in the evening preceding the said stand taken by the learned counsel for respondent No. 1 before this Court an interview was telecast on Geo News television wherein Mr. Haroon Pasha, the chief financial advisor of respondent No. 1 and his family, had stated before the host namely Mr. Shahzeb Khanzada that the entire record about Dubai and Jeddah factories was available and that the said record had been handed over to respondent No. 1’s lawyers and now it was for those lawyers to present it before the Court."
"In one of his interviews with Mr. Javed Chaudhry on Express News television on March 07, 2016 Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif, respondent No. 7, had also categorically maintained that the entire record pertaining to acquisition of the four properties in London was available with the family and the same would be produced before any court looking into the matter. Such state of affairs has been found by me to be nothing but shocking as it tends to be an attempt to suppress the relevant facts and the truth and to mislead the Court. Mr. Haroon Pasha and Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif have never denied or contradicted the contents of the above mentioned interviews."
"There may be many definitions of the word ‘honest’ but deliberate withholding or suppression of truth is not one of them and the same is in fact an antithesis of honesty. I am, therefore, constrained to declare that respondent No. 1 has not been honest to the nation, to the representatives of the nation in the National Assembly and to this Court in the matter of explaining possession and acquisition of the relevant four properties in London."
"Even the story about investment in real estate business in Qatar and the subsequent settlement of that business was also, thus, nothing but an afterthought. It may also be pertinent to mention here that in his three speeches mentioned above and also in his concise statements submitted before this Court respondent No. 1 had never said a word about any investment by his father in any real estate business in Qatar and funds generated through a settlement of that investment being utilized for acquisition of the properties in London whereas through their concise statements submitted before this Court by his children that was the only source of funds through which the said properties had been acquired in the name of respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif."
"All those businesses of respondent No. 8 (Hassan Nawaz) were going on and the said respondent was rolling in money in England for many years before June 2005 when, according to respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif), the sale proceeds of the factory in Jeddah had been given to his sons for setting up their business. Nothing has been produced by respondent No. 1 before this Court to rebut the above mentioned documents based upon the British public record."
"That story about investment in the real estate business of Al-Thani family in Qatar has taken many turns in this case and has, thus, lost its credibility. In their first concise statement jointly filed by respondent No. 1’s children they had never mentioned that story."
"In their subsequent concise statements they adopted that story as their only story. However, in their last Joint and Further Concise Statement (Civil Miscellaneous Application No. 432 of 2017 filed on January 23, 2017) the sons of respondent No. 1 gave the story another twist. The previous story was about an “investment” made by late Mian Muhammad Sharif in the real estate business of Al-Thani family in Qatar but through their last story advanced through the above mentioned concise statement it was maintained by respondent No. 1’s sons that the proceeds of sale of the factory in Dubai (12 million Dirhams) had been “placed” with Sheikh Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani who “retained” the amount with an assurance of just and equitable return."
"According to the latest story there was no investment involved in the matter and the services of a member of Al-Thani family of Qatar had been utilized only for parking of the relevant amount with him, probably as a bank!"
"It appears that close friendship between Al-Thani family of Qatar and respondent No. 1 and his family has stood the test of time. It is proverbial that a friend in need is a friend indeed. Being a foreign dignitary Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani is held by me in high esteem yet the information about him available on the Internet is unfortunately quite uncharitable."
"On the basis of the discussion made in the earlier part of this judgment the explanations advanced by respondent No. 1 in respect of the four properties in London and even in respect of his and his family’s businesses and resources have been found by me to be nothing but evasive and the statements made by him in that regard have appeared to me to be contradictory to each other. The explanations advanced by him have also been found by me to have remained utterly unproved through any independent evidence or material and, hence, the same were quite likely to be untrue. Even the children of respondent No. 1 have not been able to bring anything on the record to show that the explanations advanced by respondent No. 1 were or could be true and correct."