Detailed verdict Says Nawaz Sharif was given fair chance to defend allegations but he failed; however, accountability court can examine ‘undisputable’ evidence afresh
Says Maryam Nawaz is ‘prima facie’ the beneficial owner of Avenfield property
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in a detailed verdict rejecting review petitions filed by the Sharif family in the Panama Papers case, said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif tried to fool masses in and outside parliament.
“He [Nawaz] even tried to fool the court without realising that you can fool all the people for some of the time, some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” said the verdict of the SC Tuesday on the review petition filed earlier by the deposed premier.
The judges dismissed the notion that there wasn’t any link between the respondent No. 10 captain (retd) Safdar and Avenfield apartments, saying that respondent No. 6 Maryam Safdar prima facie happens to be the beneficial owner of the property
The 23-page verdict stated that observations given in the Panama case verdict are tentative. It said the SC verdict [in Panama case] will not have any effect on the references against the Sharif family, for the accountability court, under the Evidence Act, will itself decide whether the testimonies are true.
Moreover, the court ruled that the evidence relating to Sharif’s disqualification was undisputed, and that the verdict does not point to any legal loophole. The accountability court, it continued, can scrutinise the available evidence in the case at length.
DETAILED TEXT OF JUDGMENT:
“Petitioner (Nawaz Sharif) entitlement to salary stems from a written employment contract. Salary in this case, it may be noted, is not salary of the future which was yet to accrue.”
“It was salary of the past six and a half years which had already accrued and accumulated.
“There is also nothing in oral or written form in between July 2006 to January 2013 as could stop the withdrawal of the salary thus accrued and accumulated.
“Therefore, the argument that the salary even if agreed upon under the employment contract, would not be an asset if not withdrawn is not correct.
“… We could not have shut our eyes when an asset of the petitioner […] admitted by him to be his in no uncertain terms, was not found to have been disclosed in his nomination papers,” the judgement states.
“Nor could have we let him get away with it simply because he happened to be the prime minister of the country.”
“… To our dismay and disappointment, the petitioner has not been fair and forthright in answering any of the queries made during the course of hearing. He never came forth with the whole truth. He tried to fool the people inside and outside the Parliament. He even tried to fool the [Supreme] Court without realizing that ‘you can fool all the people for some of the time, some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’
“Refuge in evasive, equivocal and non-committal reply does not help always. If fortune has throned, crowned and sceptered him to rule the country, his conduct should be above board and impeccable.
“Whatever he does or says must be res ipsa loquitur — it should speak for itself. Resignation rather than prevarication in ambiguous terms is [a] more honourable exit if and when anything secretly carried under the sanctimonious gown of leadership drops and gets sighted.
“Since the prime minister of the country is thought to be the ethos personified of the nation he represents at national and international level, denying an asset established or defending a trust deed written in 2006 in a font becoming commercial in 2007 is below his dignity and decorum of the office he holds.”
In a different passage, the court remarks that Nawaz’s many omissions are “not something to be looked at with a casual eye and outlook.