ISLAMABAD: Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for not being honest to the nation commenced his dissenting judgement by quoting from Mario Puzo’s popular 1969 novel The Godfather recounting the violent tale of a mafia family.
“Behind every great fortune there is a crime,” the judgement cited, saying the novel was a popular sensation which was made into an acclaimed film. The 192-page dissenting judgement consumed the major bulk of a total of 548 pages.
It is ironical and sheer coincidence that the present case revolves around that very sentence attributed by Puzo to Honore de Balzac since PTI’s chief Imran Khan through his petition alleged that the prime minister while holding high public offices over a stretched period of time and his immediate family amassed huge wealth and assets acquired through illegal and unfair means and practices which were unlawful and corrupt and exercise of public authority which was misused and abused, according to the judgement.
In the last two and a half decades, the judgement deplored, there had been a constant murmur nationally as well internationally about the prime minister indulging in corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering with active assistance and involvement of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and some specified properties in London were acquired through ill-gotten or laundered money.
Referring to the Qatari letter provided in defence by Hussain Nawaz, Justice Khosa described it like dropping a bombshell with the hope that it will destroy the allegations levelled in the petitions and put to rest the controversy about availability as well as legitimacy of the resources for acquisition of those properties.
It is, however, ironical that the bombshell has caused more damage to the case of the prime minister and his children than to the case of the petitioners, Justice Khosa regretted. In fact the devastation wrecked by that document upon the case of the prime minister and his children may be incalculable and beyond their contemplation.
The first thought that comes to mind in the context of the letter by Hammad bin Jasim Al-Thani of Qatar is about its timing, the dissenting judgement said, adding that in the first address to the nation the prime minister in his address to the nation talked about a factory near Makkah but not about any factory in Dubai and certainly not about any real estate business in Qatar as the source of funds for acquisition of the properties in London.
An impression is, thus, unavoidable that all was not well with the divergent explanations being advanced rather the “truth” was being improved, moulded and sacrificed at the altar of expedience, Justice Khosa said.
Thus all the versions advanced by children of the prime minister have been found to be conflicting and unbelievable and therefore, rejected, Justice Khosa said adding the prime minister therefore has not been honest to the nation, to the representatives of the nation in the National Assembly and to the Supreme Court in the matter of explaining possession and acquisition of four London flats.
By holding the prime minister disqualified from being a member of parliament under Article 62(1 f) of the Constitution and section 99(1 f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976, Justice Khosa also asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to de-notify the prime minister immediately.
Justice Khosa asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to proceed against the prime minister and if needed utilise its earlier reference of 2000 in the Hudaibiya Mills that contain a confessional statement of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the prime minister or the report prepared by former interior minister Rehman Malik in Sept 1998 if it has any nexus with possession or acquisition of the properties in London.
Justice Khosa also asked NAB to re-investigate Ishaq Dar’s status as an accused person in the Hudaibiya reference and proceed against him in connection with the reference where Ishaq Dar was not an accused person when the reference was quashed by the Lahore High Court and the re-investigation was barred because after quashing of the reference and after setting aside of the confessional statement, Dar status in the reference stood revived as an accused person.
Justice Khosa also requested President Mamnoon Hussain to take necessary steps under the constitution to ensure continuation of the democratic process through parliamentary system of government in the country.
Since neutrality and impartiality of incumbent NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has been found to be compromised in the matters of the prime minister, Justice Khosa ordered him not to exercise authority or function in respect of these investigation.
Justice Khosa also requested Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to constitute an implementation bench and in the interest of doing complete justice all the powers, authority and functions of NAB chairman be exercised by the special bench. The relevant officials of NAB will also seek necessary orders from the implementation bench till the chairman completes his current non-extendable term of office whereas the bench will also monitor the progress by NAB also will also supervise the investigation.
Meanwhile Justice Gulzar Ahmed also in his dissenting note said the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the constitution has all the jurisdiction to give any sort of declaration and pass any consequential order that may be the need of the case which may arise out of any of the given facts and circumstances.
In this regard, the apex court had given its judgements time and again in which this matter has specifically been dealt with and answered to.
The Supreme Court has been given free and unbridled powers to make an order of a nature, if it considers that the question of public importance with reference to enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part II of the constitution is involved.
Justice Ahmed regretted that a duty was cast upon Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif as holder of the public office to satisfy the Supreme Court and the nation about the true facts regarding four London flats, which he miserably failed to do so and thus what emerges is that he has not been honest and Ameen in terms of Article 62(1 f) of the Constitution.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2017