ISLAMABAD: Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who wrote a minority judgement in the Panama Papers case disqualifying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has described Article 62 of the Constitution as a recipe for cleansing the fountainhead of the state’s authority and ensuring clean leadership at the top.
Article 62 spells out qualifications for becoming members of parliament.
“Its (Article 62) faithful adherence trickles down to un-pollute the authority,” Justice Khosa wrote.
On Thursday, a five-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Khosa had ordered the prime minister and his children to face further investigation by a specially constituted six-man joint investigation team (JIT).
On Friday, the Supreme Court office dispatched copies of the 548-page judgement in the Panama Papers case to the Federal Investigation Agency, National Accountability Bureau, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence — the departments whose nominees will be included in the JIT.
Panama Papers verdict copies sent to FIA, NAB, SECP, SBP, ISI and MI
Justice Khosa said that if the conditions suggested in Article 62 were achieved then the legislative and executive limbs of the state were purified at the top and such purity at the top necessarily trickled down to the bottom as well. Thus this recipe ensures clean leadership at the top which may legislate for and administer this “land of the pure” (Pakistan) as true delegates of the sovereignty and authority of Almighty Allah.
“This also appears to be the constitutional design and as long as Article 62 is part of the Constitution, the courts of the country are under a sworn commitment to enforce it,” the 192-page minority judgement said.
Citing a number of judgements, including the one in the 2010 Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad Khan case, Justice Khosa recalled that the Supreme Court had in the case held that parliament of any country was one of its noblest, honourable and important institutions making not only the policies and the laws for the nation but also shaping and carving its very destiny.
“And here is a man who being constitutionally and legally debarred from being its member, managed to sneak into it by making a false statement on oath and by using bogus, fake and forged documents polluting the piety of this pious body. His said conduct demonstrates not only his callous contempt for the basic norms of honesty, integrity and even for his own oath but also undermines the sanctity, the dignity and the majesty of the august House,” the verdict said.
The case in hand (Panama Papers leaks), Justice Khosa observed, was not about asininity or blindness of any law, but the prime minister and his children wanted an asinine and blindfolded acceptance of their explanations in respect of acquisition of the four upscale London flats.
The prime minister held very high public offices when his dependent children and through them he himself came in possession of the expensive properties in London and, thus, he was under a legal, moral and political obligation to account for and explain his position in that regard, Justice Khosa said.
The prime minister, the judge regretted, had offered no explanation in respect of possession or acquisition of the properties in his two addresses to the nation.
Like Caesar’s wife, the prime minister should also be above suspicion, Justice Khosa said, adding that in all his speeches, the prime minister had claimed that the entire record in respect of acquisition of the relevant properties was available and would be produced when asked for in any inquiry, but before the Supreme Court he not only detached himself from his children in respect of those properties but also failed to produce any record explaining how the relevant properties had been “purchased” or acquired as claimed by him.
He also cited excerpts from William Shakespeare’s play “Merchant of Venice” and explained that the punch line was “wrest once the law to your authority: To do a great right, do a little wrong”.
“Fortunately for me, there is no wresting the law to my authority and no little wrong is to be done by me to do a great right in the matter of issuing a declaration against the prime minister because the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution has already been exercised by this court in such matters in other cases,” Justice Khosa said.
Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2017