By Shahjahan Khurram and Zahid Hussain
ISLAMABAD: Here are 12 important remarks by judges from the Supreme Court’s verdict pertaining to the Panama Leaks case which was announced on Thursday.
1. Hussain Nawaz sending gifts to his father Nawaz Sharif:-
A son settled in Saudi Arabia and having two wives and about half a dozen children sending gifts of crores of Rupees in cash to his father on a regular basis and that too to a father who is quite rich and very famous in his own right is a phenomenon which is difficult to comprehend and surely out of the ordinary.
2. Nawaz Sharif’s brush with criminal law is not something new
Respondent No. 1’s (Nawaz Sharif) brush with criminal law is also not new. In the case of Mian Hamza Shahbaz Sharif v. Federation of Pakistan and others (1999 P.Cr.L.J. 1584) two FIRs had been registered by the Federal Investigation Authority in the year 1994 and Challans in respect of such FIRs had been submitted before the competent court with the allegations that respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) and others had indulged in serious corruption and money laundering, etc. Those Challans had been quashed later on at a time when respondent Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016, Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016 & Constitution Petition No. 03 of 2017 123 No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) was serving as the Prime Minister of the country. In the case of Messers Hudabiya Paper Mills Ltd. and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2016 Lahore 667) a Reference had been filed by the National Accountability Bureau against respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) and others with the allegations of corruption and money laundering, etc. but even that Reference was quashed during the incumbency of respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) as the Prime Minister of the country. In the case of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif v. The State (PLD 2009 SC 814) respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) had been convicted and sentenced on April 06, 2000 by an Anti-Terrorism Court for offences under section 402-B, PPC and section 7(f) of the AntiTerrorism Act, 1997 on the allegation of highjacking a commercial aeroplane and thereby committing the offence of terrorism but later on he was acquitted of the charge by this Court on July 17, 2009.
3. Millions of US dollars being transferred to UK and its utilization without legitimate transfer or money trail could be money laundering
The claim regarding handling of some money in cash may be accepted with a pinch of salt as far as the transactions taking place in the Middle Eastern countries are concerned but cash running in millions of US Dollars being transferred to the United Kingdom and then utilization of such cash in some business in that country or for acquisition of property there may be very hard to believe or accept in the absence of any legitimate transfer, a banking transaction, a money trail or a proper and lawful disclosure. If that is how it all actually happened then it would be nothing but money laundering.
4. No record on acquisition of London properties
It is ironical that on the one hand Nawaz Sharif as well as Hussain Nawaz had claimed that the entire relevant record was available and the same would be produced when required but on the other hand except for a copy of a Share Sale Contract in the year 1978, a copy of the Tripartite Sale Agreement pertaining to the factory in Dubai in the year 1980 and an affidavit of Mr. Tariq Shafi dated November 12, 2016 no record whatsoever had initially been produced establishing any connection between the proceeds of such sale in the years 1978 and 1980 and acquisition of the relevant properties in London in the year 2006. Apart from that the money fetched by sale of the factory in Dubai belonged to Nawaz Sharif’s father who had a reasonably large family consisting of his own children and nephews who were all statedly involved in almost all the businesses of the family. How much share of the money received in the years 1978 and 1980 fell to the share of Nawaz Sharif and then to the share of his children and was that share enough to “purchase” the relevant properties in London in the year 2006, i.e. after 26 years are also questions which have remained abeging an answer in this case. Some material was subsequently brought on the record of this case by the children of Nawaz Sharif but the same shall be attended to a little later in this judgment. Another remarkable feature of this case is that the whole case is about legitimate acquisition of some properties but no detail of any bank account, any banking transaction or any money trail has been brought on the record of the case by Nawaz Sharif or his children.
5. Explanations advanced by Nawaz Sharif cannot be termed as honest
The inconsistencies and gaps between the stands adopted by respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) and his children have remained unexplained and unfilled and the chains of events stated by them have remained clearly broken. Respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) had never said anything about any investment in real estate business in Qatar and his children’s case was based exclusively on that investment in Qatar. All this is sufficient to convince a prudent man that all was not well with the explanations advanced by respondent No.1 (Nawaz Sharif) and that such explanations cannot be termed as honest.
6. Contradictions in speeches on record pertaining to Dubai, Jeddah factories
A careful reading of that speech made by Nawaz Sharif 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 Nawaz Sharif 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!
7. Steel factory set up in Jeddah or Makkah?
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 Nawaz Sharif 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 Nawaz Sharif 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.
8. Maker of Qatari letter did not have personal knowledge of critical things
It is obvious from that statement itself that the maker of the statement did not have personal knowledge of most of the critical things stated therein and even for the remaining things stated he was evasive at best. He had failed to disclose how the requisite funds were transferred by respondent No. 1’s (Nawaz Sharif) father from Dubai to Qatar. He had not referred to any date or place of the transactions mentioned. He had failed to state about any document executed in furtherance of such transactions and he had also omitted to mention as to how the relevant funds were dealt with. No detail of the real estate business of Al-Thani family in Qatar was provided nor any record of investment in such business by respondent No. 1’s (Nawaz Sharif) father had been referred to. The stated settlement of accounts in the year 2006 was mentioned in most unspecific terms with no details thereof having been provided and even the representative of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016, Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016 & Constitution Petition No. 03 of 2017 101 mentioned in the statement was not identified. The stated wish of respondent No. 1’s (Nawaz Sharif) father regarding his grandson being the beneficiary of the investment was spoken about in that statement in most generalized terms without any exactitude and without reference to any formal or informal instrument having been executed in that respect.
9. PM’s address to the nation and parliament speech were not the whole truth
The subsequently introduced statement from Qatar, however, established beyond doubt that the speeches made by respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) before the nation or its representatives in the National Assembly were not the whole truth and the book presented by him had many missing pages. When the speeches made by respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) before the nation or its representatives in the National Assembly are juxtaposed with the above mentioned statement received from Qatar it becomes Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016, Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016 & Constitution Petition No. 03 of 2017 100 obvious that they are mutually destructive and cannot coexist simultaneously as the truth.
10. Serious doubts about Nawaz Sharif and his family’s claims that London properties were legitimately and lawfully acquired
On account of the facts mentioned above I have entertained serious doubts about the claim of respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) and his family that the relevant properties in London had legitimately and lawfully been acquired by them through the resources and funds stated by them and such doubts have been compounded by some interviews given by them to the local and international print and electronic media.
11. Hussain Nawaz’s statement tends to be an attempt to mislead the court
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.
It is ironical that on the one hand respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) as well as respondent No. 7 had claimed that the entire relevant record was available and the same would be produced when required but on the other hand except for a copy of a Share Sale Contract in the year 1978, a copy of the Tripartite Sale Agreement pertaining to the factory in Dubai in the year 1980 and an affidavit of Mr. Tariq Shafi dated November 12, 2016 no record whatsoever had initially been produced establishing any connection between the proceeds of such sale in the years 1978 and 1980 and acquisition of the relevant properties in London in the year 2006.
Another remarkable feature of this case is that the whole case is about legitimate acquisition of some properties but no detail of any bank account, any banking transaction or any money trail has been brought on the record of the case by respondent No. 1 (Nawaz Sharif) or his children.
12. Hussain Nawaz provided no record of funds generated for four London properties
We have been informed that Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif started doing his own business after the year 2000 when Nawaz Sharif had gone in exile to Saudi Arabia. Nothing has been brought on the record of this case by Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif to show as to when he had started his own business and as to how sufficient funds generated through his own business were available with him in the year 2006 so as to “purchase” the relevant four properties in London.
Story first published: 20th April 2017