Updated: Sunday April 23, 2017/AlAhad Rajab 27, 1438/Ravivara Vaisakha 03, 1939, at 07:05:40 PM

 

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN

(Original Jurisdiction)

 

 

PRESENT:

Mr. Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa

Mr. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan

Mr. Justice Gulzar Ahmed

Mr. Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed

Mr. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan

 

 

Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016

(Panama Papers Scandal)

 

 

Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi                                                          Petitioner   

 

versus

 

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan / Member National Assembly, Prime Minister’s House, Islamabad and nine others                                               Respondents

 

 

For the petitioner:     

Syed Naeem Bokhari, ASC

Mr. Sikandar Bashir Mohmad, ASC

Mr. Fawad Hussain Ch., ASC

Mr. Faisal Fareed Hussain, ASC

Ch. Akhtar Ali, AOR

with the petitioner in person

 

Assisted by:

Mr. Yousaf Anjum, Advocate

Mr. Kashif Siddiqui, Advocate

Mr. Imad Khan, Advocate

Mr. Akbar Hussain, Advocate

Barrister Maleeka Bokhari, Advocate

Ms. Iman Shahid, Advocate,

 

For respondent No. 1:

Mr. Makhdoom Ali Khan, Sr. ASC

Mr. Khurram M. Hashmi, ASC

Mr. Feisal Naqvi, ASC

 

Assisted by:

Mr. Saad Hashmi, Advocate

Mr. Sarmad Hani, Advocate

Mr. Mustafa Mirza, Advocate

 

For the National Accountability Bureau

(respondent No. 2):

 

Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Chairman, National Accountability Bureau in person

Mr. Waqas Qadeer Dar, Prosecutor-General Accountability

            Mr. Arshad Qayyum, Special Prosecutor Accountability

            Syed Ali Imran, Special Prosecutor Accountability

Mr. Farid-ul-Hasan Ch., Special Prosecutor Accountability

 

For the Federation of Pakistan

(respondents No. 3 & 4):

Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Attorney-General for Pakistan

Mr. Nayyar Abbas Rizvi, Additional Attorney-General for Pakistan

Mr. Gulfam Hameed, Deputy Solicitor, Ministry of Law & Justice

 

Assisted by:

Barrister Asad Rahim Khan

Mr. Salaar Khan, Advocate

Mr. Bilal Naseer, Advocate

Mr. Shahzaib Khan, Advocate

 

For the Federal Board of Revenue

(respondent No. 5):

Dr. Muhammad Irshad, Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue in person

Mr. Muhammad Waqar Rana, ASC

Mr. M. S. Khattak, AOR

Kh. Tanvir Ahmed, Director-General (Intelligence)

            Mr. Shaukat Ali, Director-General

            Hafiz Muhammad Ali Indhar, Director (Legal)

            Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Khawaja, Member, Federal Board of Revenue

 

For respondents No. 6, 9 & 10:

Mr. Shahid Hamid, Sr. ASC

            Ms. Ayesha Hamid, ASC

Syed Rifaqat Hussain Shah, AOR

 

For respondents No. 7 & 8:

Mr. Salman Akram Raja, ASC

Syed Rifaqat Hussain Shah, AOR

 

Assisted by:

Malik Ahsan Mahmood, Advocate

Malik Ghulam Sabir, Advocate

Mr. Nadeem Shahzad Hashmi, Advocate

Mr. Asad Ladha, Advocate

Mr. Zeshaan Hashmi, Advocate

Ms. Atira Ikram, Advocate

Mr. Tariq Bashir, Advocate

Mr. Muhammad Shakeel Mughal, Advocate

 

Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016

(Panama Papers Scandal)

 

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed                                                              Petitioner   

 

versus

 

Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Division and three others         Respondents

 

 

For the petitioner:     

In person

 

For the Federation of Pakistan

(respondent No. 1):

Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Attorney-General for Pakistan

Mr. Nayyar Abbas Rizvi, Additional Attorney-General for Pakistan

Mr. Gulfam Hameed, Deputy Solicitor, Ministry of Law & Justice

 

Assisted by:

Barrister Asad Rahim Khan

Mr. Salaar Khan, Advocate

Mr. Bilal Naseer, Advocate

Mr. Shahzaib Khan, Advocate

 

For the National Accountability Bureau

(respondent No. 2):

 

Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Chairman, National Accountability Bureau in person

Mr. Waqas Qadeer Dar, Prosecutor-General Accountability

            Mr. Arshad Qayyum, Special Prosecutor Accountability

            Syed Ali Imran, Special Prosecutor Accountability

Mr. Farid-ul-Hasan Ch., Special Prosecutor Accountability

 

For the Federal Board of Revenue

(respondent No. 3):

Dr. Muhammad Irshad, Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue in person

Mr. Muhammad Waqar Rana, ASC

Mr. M. S. Khattak, AOR

Kh. Tanvir Ahmed, Director-General (Intelligence)

            Mr. Shaukat Ali, Director General

            Hafiz Muhammad Ali Indhar, Director (Legal)

            Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Khawaja, Member, Federal Board of Revenue

 

For respondent No. 4:

Mr. Makhdoom Ali Khan, Sr. ASC

Mr. Khurram M. Hashmi, ASC

Mr. Feisal Naqvi, ASC

 

Assisted by:

Mr. Saad Hashmi, Advocate

Mr. Sarmad Hani, Advocate

Mr. Mustafa Mirza, Advocate

 

Constitution Petition No. 03 of 2017

(Panama Papers Scandal)

 

Siraj-ul-Haq, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan             Petitioner

           

versus

 

Federation of Pakistan through Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Islamabad and three others                      Respondents

 

For the petitioner:     

Mr. Taufiq Asif, ASC

Sh. Ahsan-ud-Din, ASC

Mr. Atif Ali Khan, ASC

Mr. Mehmood A. Sheikh, AOR

with the petitioner in person.

 

Assisted by:

Mr. Khan Afzal Khan, ASC

Mr. Ajmal Ghaffar Toor, Advocate

Mr. Saif Ullah Gondal, Advocate

Mr. Sher Hamid Khan, Advocate

Mr. Imran Shafiq, Advocate

Mr. Asad Ullah Bhutto, Advocate

 

For the Federation of Pakistan

(respondents No. 1 to 3):

Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Attorney-General for Pakistan

Mr. Nayyar Abbas Rizvi, Additional Attorney-General for Pakistan

Mr. Gulfam Hameed, Deputy Solicitor, Ministry of Law & Justice

 

Assisted by:

Barrister Asad Rahim Khan

Mr. Salaar Khan, Advocate

Mr. Bilal Naseer, Advocate

Mr. Shahzaib Khan, Advocate

 

For respondent No. 4:

Mr. Makhdoom Ali Khan, Sr. ASC

Mr. Khurram M. Hashmi, ASC

Mr. Feisal Naqvi, ASC

 

Assisted by:

Mr. Saad Hashmi, Advocate

Mr. Sarmad Hani, Advocate

Mr. Mustafa Mirza, Advocate

 

 

Dates of hearing:        04.01.2017,                 05.01.2017,                 06.01.2017,  09.01.2017, 10.01.2017, 11.01.2017, 12.01.2017, 13.01.2017, 16.01.2017, 17.01.2017, 18.01.2017, 19.01.2017, 20.01.2017, 23.01.2017, 24.01.2017, 25.01.2017, 26.01.2017, 27.01.2017, 30.01.2017, 31.01.2017, 01.02.2017, 15.02.2017, 16.02.2017, 21.02.2017, 22.02.2017    &       23.02.2017.           

 

JUDGMENT

 

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 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 and its original version in French reads as follows:

 

Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait.

 

(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 as through Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 it has been alleged by the petitioner namely Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, Chairman of a political party named Tehreek-e-Insaf, that while holding high public offices in the State of Pakistan over a stretched period of time respondent No. 1 namely Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan, and through him his immediate family has amassed huge wealth and assets which have been acquired through means which were illegal and unfair, practices which were unlawful and corrupt and exercise of public authority which was misused and abused. Through Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016 Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed petitioner, Chairman of a political party named Awami Muslim League, and through Constitution Petition No. 3 of 2017 Siraj-ul-Haq petitioner, Ameer of another political party named Jamaat-e-Islami, have also agitated the same issue. All the above mentioned petitioners have inter alia prayed that it may be declared by this Court that respondent No. 1 in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 (who is respondent No. 4 in the other two petitions) is not “honest” and “ameen” within the purview of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and, thus, he is disqualified from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). Some other reliefs have also been prayed for by the petitioners and the same shall also be dealt with by me at appropriate stages of the present judgment. For facility of reference Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif shall be referred to in this judgment as respondent No. 1, his daughter namely Mariam Safdar shall be referred to as respondent No. 6, his son-in-law namely Captain (Retired) Muhammad Safdar shall be referred to as respondent No. 9, his sons namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif shall be referred to as respondents No. 7 and 8 respectively and his Samdhi (father-in-law of one of his daughters) namely Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar shall be referred to as respondent No. 10 as arrayed in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016. We have been informed by the learned counsel for respondent No. 1 that the said respondent has so far held the following high public offices:

 

Minister for Finance, Excise and Taxation, Government of the Punjab

(from April 25, 1981 to February 28, 1985)

 

Chief Minister, Government of the Punjab

(from April 09, 1985 to May 30, 1988)

 

Caretaker Chief Minister, Government of the Punjab

(from May 31, 1988 to December 02, 1988)

 

Chief Minister, Government of the Punjab

(from December 02, 1988 to August 06, 1990)

 

Prime Minister of Pakistan

(from November 06, 1990 to April 18, 1993)

 

Prime Minister of Pakistan

(from May 26, 1993 to July 18, 1993)

 

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly

(from October 19, 1993 to November 05, 1996)

 

Prime Minister of Pakistan

(from February 17, 1997 to October 12, 1999)

 

Prime Minister of Pakistan

(from June 05, 2013 till date)

 

A younger brother of respondent No. 1 namely Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has also served in the past as Chief Minister, Government of the Punjab for many terms and even presently he is holding that high public office. A Samdhi of respondent No. 1 namely Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar, respondent No. 10 herein, has remained and is also the present Federal Minister for Finance and a nephew of respondent No. 1 is a Member of the National Assembly at present. In an interview with Mr. Hamid Mir and Mr. Sohail Warraich telecast on Geo News television on November 17, 2009 respondent No. 1 had maintained that he belonged to a business family and he had claimed that the members of his family who were in politics (including respondent No. 1 himself) had decided in the year 1997 to disassociate themselves from the family business. The contents of the said interview have never been denied or controverted by respondent No. 1 and nothing has been brought on the record of this case to show how and when the claimed disassociation had actually come about, if at all. It is, however, not disputed that between 1981 and 1997 respondent No. 1’s public offices and his business interests coincided and coexisted.

 

2.         In the last two and a half decades there had been a constant murmur nationally as well internationally about respondent No. 1 indulging in corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. with the active assistance and involvement of respondent No. 10 and some specified properties in London, United Kingdom had been identified as having been acquired by respondent No. 1 through ill-gotten or laundered money. In that regard the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had come out with a documentary, the British newspaper Guardian had published a story about it, Mr. Raymond W. Baker had mentioned some specific details about it in his book ‘Capitalism’s Achilles Heel’ (published in 2005 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey) and some prosecutions had been launched against respondents No. 1 and 10 and others locally by the Federal Investigation Agency and the National Accountability Bureau. However, this time it all started ominously on April 03, 2016 when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released some information leaked from the internal database of a law firm named Mossack Fonseca based in Panama. The said information was published in the print and electronic media worldwide on April 04, 2016 disclosing details of a large number of offshore companies established in different countries providing tax havens and owned or controlled by hundreds of persons and entities based in different countries of the world. The information so disclosed also revealed that many political and public figures in different countries and their families, including the children of respondent No. 1 herein, held or owned valuable assets in different parts of the world through such offshore companies. The political uproar that followed forced some political figures in the world to resign from high public offices and others to submit explanations in the parliaments whereas in some countries high powered bodies were constituted to inquire into the allegations of corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. adopted in the matter. Respondent No. 1 happens to be the elected Prime Minister of our country and the political tumult arising out of the so-called Panama Papers compelled him to explain his position by addressing the nation twice on radio and television and the National Assembly once, abortive attempts were made to constitute a Judicial Commission to inquire into the allegations leveled against respondent No. 1 and his immediate family and ultimately the present Constitution Petitions were filed before this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973. 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, who is the Chief Executive of the Federation, and his family it was decided by a Larger Bench of this Court on November 03, 2016 with reference to some precedent cases that these petitions involve some serious questions of public importance with reference to enforcement of some Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part II of the Constitution and, therefore, the same are maintainable before this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. On that occasion none of the parties to these petitions raised any objection to competence and maintainability of these petitions and even before the present reconstituted Larger Bench (which includes a majority of the members of the earlier Larger Bench) no such objection has been raised at any stage of the protracted hearings. 

 

3.         At the commencement of regular hearing of these petitions it had been decided by this Court with concurrence of the learned counsel for all the parties that it might not be possible for this Court to take stock of the entire gamut of the business activities and personal lives of respondent No. 1 and his family within the limited scope of these petitions and, therefore, these petitions would be decided by focusing mainly, but not exclusively, on the properties relevant to respondent No. 1 and his children which were revealed through the Panama Papers. The details of the said properties are as follows:

 

(i)                  Property No. 17, Avenfield House, Park Lane, London W1K 7AF, United Kingdom

(owned by a Panama based offshore company named Nescoll Limited since June 01, 1993),

 

(ii)           Property No. 16, Avenfield House, Park Lane, London W1K 7AF, United Kingdom

(owned by a Panama based offshore company named Nielsen Enterprises Limited since July 31, 1995),

 

(iii)         Property No. 16a, Avenfield House, Park Lane, London W1K 7AF, United Kingdom

(owned by a Panama based offshore company named Nielsen Enterprises Limited since July 31, 1995) and

 

(iv)          Property No. 17a, Avenfield House, Park Lane, London W1K 7AF, United Kingdom

(owned by a Panama based offshore company named Nescoll Limited since July 23, 1996).

 

It may be pertinent to mention here that during the course of hearing of these petitions it has come to light that there have been and are many other properties and businesses owned by respondent No. 1’s immediate family not only in Pakistan but also in many other countries the value of which statedly runs into billions of Rupees or US Dollars. The net worth of just the above mentioned four properties, situated in one of the most expensive areas of London, is stated to be many millions of Pounds Sterling and they had statedly come into the ownership of only one of the sons of respondent No. 1 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif (respondent No. 7 herein). Another son of respondent No. 1 namely Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif (respondent No. 8 herein) separately owns many companies and properties worth millions of Pounds Sterling and a daughter of respondent No. 1 namely Mariam Nawaz Sharif, also known as Mariam Safdar, (respondent No. 6 herein) also holds some valuable properties in her own name. None of the children of respondent No. 1 has ever claimed that the businesses set up or the properties acquired in his/her name had initially been set up or acquired through any personal earning or resources of his/her own.

 

4.         Concise statements/replies to these petitions had been filed by all the contesting respondents and elaborate arguments had been heard by us from all the sides on all the relevant issues. During the hearing of these petitions the following issues inter alia had primarily been debated before us:

 

(a)        What is the scope of the proceedings before this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and whether disputed or intricate questions of fact can be decided in such proceedings with or without recording of evidence?

 

(b)       Whether the above mentioned four properties in London in particular, statedly acquired in the name of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif, a son of respondent No. 1, had been acquired by respondent No. 1 and his family through funds legitimately generated and transferred and whether acquisition of those assets has duly and properly been explained and accounted for by respondent No. 1 or his children?

 

(c)        Whether respondent No. 1 and his children have any decent explanation available for acquiring properties and setting up various businesses in general in different parts of the world?

 

(d)       Whether respondent No. 1 is not “honest” or “ameen” as required by Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution as he has failed to duly account for his and his immediate family’s wealth and assets and his various explanations advanced before the nation, the National Assembly and this Court in that regard have been evasive, contradictory, unproved and untrue rendering him disqualified from being elected to or from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)?

 

(e)        Whether Mariam Safdar, a daughter of respondent No. 1, was respondent No. 1’s ‘dependent’ in the year 2013 and in his nomination papers filed for election to the National Assembly in the general elections held in that year respondent No. 1 had failed to disclose such dependency and had, thus, been guilty of suppression of a material fact for which the necessary legal consequences ought to follow?

 

(f)        Whether respondent No. 1 had been evading taxes and he had thereby rendered himself disqualified from being elected to or from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)?

 

(g)       Whether some allegations of indulging in corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. leveled against respondent No. 1, respondent No. 10 and some others in the past had unduly been scuttled through some judicial recourses and what would be the remedies available for reopening of those allegations and for their prosecution?

 

In the following paragraphs I intend to deal with all the above mentioned and other related issues with reference to the contentions of the learned counsel for the parties and the material made available on the record.

 

5.         Appearing for Mr. Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi petitioner in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 Syed Naeem Bokhari, ASC read out the first speech made by respondent No. 1 namely Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif before the nation on radio and television on April 05, 2016 and maintained that in that speech respondent No. 1 had neither been honest nor truthful because in that speech the source of funds for purchase of the properties in London was stated to be the sale of a factory near Makkah whereas in his subsequent speech made before the National Assembly on May 16, 2016 he had introduced a factory in Dubai the sale of which was the initial source of funds and the factory near Makkah was described as a factory in Jeddah. He emphasized that in the speech made by respondent No. 1 before the National Assembly it had categorically been stated that all the record relevant to the factories in Dubai and Jeddah was available and would be produced before any forum inquiring into the matter but except for a few documents of sale no such record had been produced by him before this Court. He highlighted that on that occasion respondent No. 1 had proclaimed that those were the resources through which the properties in London had been “purchased” which was a claim that was contradicted before this Court by respondent No. 1’s own children and was, thus, false and untrue.

 

6.         Mr. Bokhari pointed out from the documents produced on the record by respondent No. 1 and his children that some land was obtained on lease in Dubai on March 28, 1974, permission to set up a factory was granted by the Government of Dubai on April 28, 1974, a rent agreement in that regard was executed on June 12, 1974, a factory was installed on that land through funds which were never properly explained, 75% shares of that factory were sold to the Ahli family through a Tripartite Agreement of Sale in the year 1978 and then through a Final Share Sale Agreement dated April 14, 1980 the remaining 25% shares of that factory were also sold to the same family. He maintained that a bare perusal of the Tripartite Agreement of Sale of 1978 showed that no money became available to the seller on the basis of that sale as the proceeds of the sale were completely consumed in paying off debts, dues and liabilities which were much more than the sale proceeds inasmuch as the seller owed the Bank of Credit and Commerce International a sum of 27.6 million Dirhams and the outstanding liabilities of the company were to the tune of about 36 million Dirhams. He pointed out that it was claimed by respondent No. 1 and his children that an amount of 12 million Dirhams in cash had become available to the seller as a result of the Final Share Sale Agreement in the year 1980 but no independent proof had been produced in that respect. He also pointed out that the Agreement in the year 1980 had been signed by Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, a younger brother of respondent No. 1, as an authorized agent of one Mr. Tariq Shafi, a cousin of respondent No. 1, who was statedly a Benami owner of that factory on behalf of respondent No. 1’s father namely Mian Muhammad Sharif and no independent proof had been brought on the record of this case to establish that Mian Muhammad Sharif was the actual owner of that factory, Mr. Tariq Shafi was his Benamidar, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif was an authorized agent of Mr. Tariq Shafi or 12 million Dirhams had actually been received in cash by the seller as a result of that sale. While referring to the signatures of Mr. Tariq Shafi available on his affidavit sworn on November 12, 2016 it was maintained by Mr. Bokhari that the signatures of Mr. Tariq Shafi on the Agreement signed in the year 1980 were fake. Mr. Bokhari emphasized that in his affidavit of November 12, 2016 Mr. Tariq Shafi had clearly maintained that no money had come into his hands from the sale of 75% shares of the factory in Dubai in the year 1978 but in the year 1980 a sum of 12 million Dirhams had been received by him in cash through the sale of the remaining 25% shares of the factory in the year 1980. Thus, Mr. Bokhari maintained that respondent No. 1 was not being truthful when he had stated before the National Assembly on May 16, 2016 that the sale of the factory in Dubai had fetched the family a sum of 33.37 million Dirhams in the year 1980.

  

7.         Mr. Bokhari forcefully argued that respondent No. 1 had never mentioned any investment by the family in the real estate business in Qatar in his speeches made before the nation or in the National Assembly and he had also failed to make any mention of the same in his concise statements filed before this Court whereas respondent No. 1’s children had based their entire case upon the resources generated through the family’s investment made in the real estate business in Qatar. According to Mr. Bokhari the contradictions between respondent No. 1 and his children in this regard were irreconcilable because according to respondent No. 1 the resources becoming available through sale of the factory in Dubai were used for setting up a factory in Jeddah whereas his children had maintained that the resources becoming available from the sale of the factory in Dubai were utilized for investment in the real estate business in Qatar and thereafter the properties in London had been acquired on the basis of a settlement of the business in Qatar! Referring to a statement of one Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani of Qatar dated November 05, 2016 produced before this Court during the present proceedings Mr. Bokhari maintained that the said statement was nothing but an afterthought and a complete concoction which destroyed credibility of respondent No. 1 irretrievably. Mr. Bokhari asserted with vehemence that the relevant four properties in London had actually been purchased by respondent No. 1 between the years 1993 and 1996 through undisclosed resources and through money laundering.

 

8.         Mr. Bokhari brought the statement of Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabir Al-Thani of Qatar dated November 05, 2016 (to be reproduced and discussed in the later part of this judgment) under scathing criticism and maintained that the said statement did not even qualify to be called evidence. According to him the contents of paragraph No. 1 of that statement were not based upon personal knowledge of the maker of the statement; the contents of paragraph No. 2 of that statements were based upon nothing but hearsay; it was not disclosed in that paragraph as to who had disclosed the facts stated therein to the maker of the statement; it was not revealed in that paragraph as to who had disclosed the desire of late Mian Muhammad Sharif to the maker of the statement; it was not disclosed in paragraph No. 3 of that statement as to how and on what basis the maker of the statement had understood what he had claimed to have understood; it was not mentioned in that paragraph that the money invested by late Mian Muhammad Sharif in the real estate business in Qatar was the sale proceeds of a factory in Dubai; in paragraph No. 4 of the statement no detail of the real estate business in Qatar was disclosed; it was claimed in that paragraph that the bearer share certificates of the properties in London were kept at that time in Qatar but it was not claimed that the said certificates were in the custody of the Al-Thani family of Qatar; no detail of the settlement of the real estate business in Qatar, no detail of payment, no banking channel and no money trail from Qatar to London was provided in that paragraph of the statement; no detail about use of the properties in London had been mentioned in the said paragraph; in paragraph No. 5 of that statement it was not disclosed as to when and before whom late Mian Muhammad Sharif had made his stated wish, what was the proof of that wish and why all his heirs were kept out of the settlement of his real estate business in Qatar; in paragraph No. 6 of that statement a settlement between Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif (respondent No. 7) and Al-Thani family of Qatar was mentioned without any mention of a settlement with the maker of the statement, i.e. Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabir Al-Thani; and the said statement talked about the available records in Doha, Qatar but no such record had been mentioned. Mr. Bokhari stressed that the said statement from Qatar was a naked improvement upon the case of respondent No. 1 who had never mentioned any family investment in Qatar in all his speeches and his concise statements. According to Mr. Bokhari if the said statement of the gentleman from Qatar were to be kept out of consideration then the entire defence of respondent No. 1 and his children collapsed to the ground because there was no banking transaction or movement of funds from Dubai to London, from Jeddah to London or even from Qatar to London for the purposes of acquisition or “purchase” of the four properties in London.      

 

9.         Mr. Bokhari then referred to various interviews given by respondent No. 1, his wife and three children on the issue of the four properties in London highlighting that in each such interview a different story had been narrated as to how the said properties had been acquired by the family. He pointed out that in his interview with Tim Sebastian on BBC’s Hard Talk in November 1999 Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif (respondent No. 8) had stated that he was merely a student at that time with no income of his own. He had admitted that he was living in the relevant flats in London which were taken on “rent” and that the rent money came from Pakistan on a quarterly basis. Mr. Bokhari then referred to The Guardian newspaper of England dated April 10, 2000 wherein Mrs. Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif (wife of respondent No. 1) had been quoted as saying that the flats in London had been “bought” because the children were studying in London. Mr. Bokhari then pointed out that in her interview with Sana Bucha on Geo Television’s Laikin on November 8, 2011 Mariam Safdar (Respondent No. 6) had categorically stated that she had no property of her own in Central London or any house in Pakistan or abroad. She had wondered as to from where her properties or of her brothers had been discovered by people. She had gone on to say that she lived with her father at his house. Mr. Bokhari also referred to an interview of respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif with Mr. Hamid Mir in Capital Talk on Geo News television on January 19, 2016 wherein respondent No. 7 had stated that the sale of the factory in Jeddah had fetched good money which had been “officially transferred” to England about eleven or twelve years ago and through that money he had acquired three properties there through “mortgage” for which payments were still being made. He had gone on to state in that interview that the said properties had been “purchased” by him and they were still in possession of the family. Mr. Bokhari submitted that no record of the stated “official” transfer of money from Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom had been produced before this Court. He also pointed out that the stance of respondent No. 7 regarding “purchase” of those properties through “mortgage” had subsequently been changed. He highlighted that no mention had been made in that interview to any investment in real estate business in Qatar and to the properties in London having been acquired as a result of any settlement of that investment. Mr. Bokhari also referred to an interview of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif with Javed Chaudhry in Kal Tak on March 07, 2016 on Express News television wherein he admitted ownership of the two offshore companies and of the relevant properties in London besides stating that respondent No. 8 was doing business in London for the last 21 years. Mr. Bokhari pointed out that respondent No. 8 had said in his interview in the year 1999 referred to above that he was a student till then with no business or income of his own and that in his interview on March 07, 2016 respondent No. 7 had stated that the relevant properties in London belonged to “us” and no mention had been made by him in that interview to any investment in Qatar being the source of acquisition of those properties. Mr. Bokhari then drew the Court’s attention towards an interview of respondent No. 1 with Hamid Mir and Sohail Warraich on November 17, 2009 on Geo News television wherein he had stated that he had disassociated himself from the family business in the year 1997. Mr. Bokhari also referred to the speech made by respondent No. 1 on April 05, 2016 wherein he had stated that with the money becoming available through sale of the factory in Jeddah in June 2005 his sons had started their business which story had subsequently been changed by maintaining that it was with that money that the apartments in London had been purchased and still later the story had once again been changed to acquisition of those properties in London through a settlement of a real estate business in Qatar.

 

10.       Mr. Bokhari then referred to paragraph No. 113 of the judgment of this Court in the case of Syed Zafar Ali Shah and others v. General Pervez Musharraf Chief Executive of Pakistan and others (PLD 2000 SC 869) wherein a reference had been made to a judgment passed by the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, London on March 16, 1999 in the case of Al Towfeek Company v. Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited, etc. followed by a decree dated November 05, 1999 against Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited, etc. for about 34 million US Dollars. According to the record Mariam Safdar (respondent No. 6 herein) and Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif (respondent No. 7 herein) were included in the Directors of Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited and Mian Shahbaz Sharif (a younger brother of respondent No. 1 herein), Mian Muhammad Sharif (father of respondent No. 1 herein) and Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif (another younger brother of respondent No. 1 herein) had beneficial interest therein. In the year 1999 a caution was placed by the court upon the relevant four properties in London in connection with the decree passed and on February 21, 2000 that caution was lifted upon satisfaction of the decree. Mr. Bokhari maintained that lifting of the caution and release of the said properties upon satisfaction of that decree clearly established that the Sharif family owned those properties way back in the year 1999 and the claim of respondent No. 1 and his children before this Court that the said properties were acquired in the year 2006 was false. He went on to maintain that both the offshore companies, i.e. Nescoll Limited and Nielsen Enterprises Limited were in fact established by respondent No. 1 and the four properties in London were purchased by the said companies between 1993 and 1996 on behalf of respondent No. 1 and that his family is in physical possession of those properties ever since. He vehemently argued that the entire story about the said properties having been transferred to the ownership of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif in the year 2006 as a result of a settlement of some real estate business in Qatar was a concoction incarnate.

 

11.       Mr. Bokhari pointed out that respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia since the year 2000 and till that year he had no income of his own to set up his own business. Respondent No. 8 namely Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif was a student in London, United Kingdom in the year 1999 with no income of his own and he had statedly started his own business in London on April 12, 2001 by setting up a company named Flagship Investments Limited. The Director’s report of the said company for that year showed that respondent No. 8 had Pounds Sterling 705,071 to his credit as the Director of that company and respondent No. 8 never advanced any explanation of his own as to how and from where he came to have that kind of money. The Financial Statement of that company dated March 31, 2003 showed that respondent No. 8 had made a loan of Pounds Sterling 307,761 to that company with a balance of Pounds Sterling 990,244. The Financial Statement of that company dated March 31, 2004 showed that the said respondent had made a loan of Pounds Sterling 593,939 to that company with a balance of Pounds Sterling 1,606,771. The Financial Statement of that company dated March 31, 2005 also showed that the company owed that respondent a huge amount of money. Mr. Bokhari also pointed out that respondent No. 8 had also set up another company by the name of Que Holdings Limited and the Notes of Account of that company dated July 31, 2004 showed that the said respondent had 100% holding in that company to which he had given a loan of Pounds Sterling 99,999. The Financial Statement of that company dated July 31, 2005 showed that respondent No. 8 had given a loan to that company amounting to Pounds Sterling 541,694. Mr. Bokhari highlighted that respondent No. 8 owned about ten companies in London even prior to the sale of the factory in Jeddah by the family in June 2005 and the credit from respondent No. 8 to the companies controlled by him was Pounds Sterling 2,351,877 by the year 2005 for which he had offered no explanation whatsoever till the belated revelation regarding an investment in Qatar by way of an afterthought. According to Mr. Bokhari the money becoming available to respondent No. 8 in London was nothing but money laundered by respondent No. 1 and the details of such money laundering were available in the report prepared by Mr. A. Rehman Malik of the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan in September 1998.

 

12.       The next plank of the arguments advanced by Mr. Bokhari was that as a matter of fact respondent No. 6 namely Mariam Safdar, a daughter of respondent No. 1, was the beneficial owner of the relevant offshore companies owning the four properties in London. In this connection he referred to various emails exchanged in June 2012 between the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Islands, the law firm Mossack Fonseca and Minerva Trust & Corporate Services Limited, the administrator of the two companies, according to which there was no trust attached to the said companies and the beneficial owner of two of the properties in London was respondent No. 6. He also pointed out that in her Personal Information Form submitted before the law firm on October 14, 2011 respondent No. 6 had disclosed her source of wealth as the family’s wealth and business spread over a period of sixty years. He also referred to a document dated December 03, 2005 which established respondent No. 6’s connection with Minerva Financial Services Limited in the year 2005, prior to the claimed acquisition of the relevant properties in London in the year 2006, which document had statedly been signed by respondent No. 6 as the sole shareholder of one of the two offshore companies.

 

13.       Mr. Bokhari also argued that the documents relied upon by respondents No. 6 and 7 as Trust Deeds establishing respondent No. 6 as a trustee of respondent No. 7 in respect of the four properties in London were sham. He pointed out that the said documents were purportedly signed by one party on February 02, 2006 in one country and by the other party on February 04, 2006 in another country, a seal was affixed on those documents on November 07, 2016 after about ten years and those documents were certified to be correct copies only. According to him there was no attestation of the trust deeds and attestation appearing thereon was not of the documents but of the copies only.

 

14.       It was conceded by Mr. Bokhari that through these petitions none of the petitioners has sought any declaration or relief against respondent No. 6 namely Mariam Safdar but he maintained that the said respondent was, is and remains a dependent of her father, i.e. respondent No. 1. According to him respondent No. 6 was the actual beneficial owner of the four properties in London and respondent No. 1 had not disclosed that fact in his declaration attached with the nomination forms filed for candidature in the general elections held in the country in the year 2013 which suppression of fact was sufficient to disqualify him as a Member of the National Assembly. He pointed out that in his Wealth Statement submitted with the income-tax return for the year 2011 respondent No. 1 had mentioned the land purchased by him in the name of respondent No. 6 in Column No. 12 meant for “spouse, minor children and other dependents” and, thus, he had acknowledged respondent No. 6 as his dependent. He went on to submit that respondent No. 6 had no independent means of income, her agricultural income was not sufficient to sustain her on her own, her traveling expenses were more than her declared income, she paid no bills and admittedly she was living with father who periodically gave her huge gifts in cash and kind. He referred to the definition of ‘Dependent’ in Black’s Law Dictionary and maintained that respondent No. 6 had no independent source of income. In this connection he referred to the Wealth Statements submitted by respondent No. 6 showing that in the year 2011 she had received Rs. 3,17,00,000, in the year 2012 she had received Rs. 5,16,24,000 and in the year 2013 she had received Rs. 3,78,68,000 as gifts from respondent No. 1 besides receiving Rs. 4,23,04,310 as loans and advances from Chaudhry Sugar Mills in the year 2011 and a loan of Rs. 2,89,33,800 from respondent No. 8 in the year 2012. He also pointed out that the husband of respondent No. 6 had not paid any tax till the year 2013 and respondent No. 6 had admitted in an interview that she had no house in Pakistan or abroad. Mr. Bokhari maintained that the properties standing in the names of respondent No. 6 were in fact Benami and actually owned by her father, i.e. respondent No. 1. He referred to the cases of Muhammad Nawaz Minhas and others v. Mst. Surriya Sabir Minhas and others (2009 SCMR 124), Ch. Ghulam Rasool v. Mrs. Nusrat Rasool and 4 others (PLD 2008 SC 146), Abdul Majeed and others v. Amir Muhammad and others (2005 SCMR 577), Mst. Sharifan Bibi and others v. Abdul Majeed Rauf and others (PLD 2012 Lahore 141), Mv. MD. Abdul Majid and others v. MD. Jainul Abedin and others (PLD 1970 Dacca 414), Malik Muhammad Zubair and 2 others v. Malik Muhammad Anwar and 2 others (PLD 2004 Lahore 515), Syed Ansar Hussain and 2 others v. Khawaja Muhammad Kaleem and 4 others (2006 CLC 732) and S. Abid Ali and 3 others v. Syed Inayat Ali and 5 others (2010 CLC 1633) and maintained that the requisite ingredients of a Benami transaction stood fully attracted to the acquisition of properties in the name of respondent No. 6 and as she had no independent source of income, therefore, respondent No. 1 was the actual owner of those properties and the same was true of even the four properties in London purchased between 1993 and 1996.

 

15.       Mr. Bokhari further argued that respondent No. 1 had also been guilty of tax evasion. In this regard he submitted that respondent No. 1 had received Rs. 74 crores from his sons between the years 2011 and 2015 as gifts but no tax was paid by him on that amount. He referred to the Wealth Statement submitted by respondent No. 1 for the tax year 2011 in column No. 3(ii) whereof it was mentioned that the said respondent had received a gift of more than Rs. 12 crores from a son and he had gifted about Rs. 5 crores to R6 and R7. According to Mr. Bokhari total gifts received by respondent No. 1 from respondent No. 7 were for Rs. 81 crores. He referred to section 39 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 according to which all the loans and gifts received were to be declared but respondent No. 1 had not paid tax on such gifts. Mr. Bokhari questioned the capacity of respondent No. 7 to make such huge gifts to respondent No. 1 and maintained that money was being rotated and laundered money was being made kosher through such gifts. According to Mr. Bokhari nearly Rs. 74 crores had admittedly been received by respondent No. 1 from respondents No. 7 & 8 which was income from other sources but no tax was paid on that amount. He submitted that the Federal Board of Revenue may be directed to recover the tax due and respondent No. 1 may be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution even on that score.

 

16.       Adverting to respondent No. 10 namely Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar, the incumbent Federal Minister for Finance and a Samdhi of respondent No. 1, Mr. Bokhari referred to a confessional statement made by him under section 164, Cr.P.C. before a Magistrate First Class, Lahore on April 25, 2000 wherein he had confessed to laundering money for the benefit of respondent No. 1 and others and on the basis of that Reference No. 5 of 2000 had been filed by the National Accountability Bureau before an Accountability Court against Hudabiya Paper Mills, three Sharif brothers, respondent No. 10 and others. That Reference was quashed by a learned Division Bench of the Lahore High Court, Lahore on March 11, 2014 upon acceptance of Writ Petition No. 2617 of 2011. After quashing of the Reference the two learned Judges of the High Court had disagreed with each other over the issue of reinvestigation of the case by the National Accountability Bureau and thus the said aspect of the case was referred to a learned Referee Judge who held that the case could not be allowed to be reinvestigated. We have been informed that the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau did not challenge that judgment of the Lahore High Court, Lahore before this Court through any petition/appeal. Mr. Bokhari maintained that the present Chairman, National Accountability Bureau had been appointed by respondent No. 1 himself and, therefore, he had returned the favour by not filing any petition/appeal in that case against respondent No. 1 and others. According to Mr. Bokhari the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau, respondent No. 2 herein, had failed in due performance of his duty in that regard and, thus, he was liable to be proceeded against under Article 209 of the Constitution for his removal from office through the Supreme Judicial Council. Mr. Bokhari also prayed that this Court may issue a direction to the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau to file a petition/appeal in the above mentioned matter before this Court with a prayer for condoning of the delay in filing of such petition/appeal.

 

17.       With the submissions made above Mr. Bokhari prayed that a declaration may be issued by this Court that respondent No. 1 is not “honest” and “ameen” within the purview of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and on the basis of such a declaration he may be held to be disqualified from membership of the National Assembly; the closed cases of corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. against respondents No. 1, 10 and others may be reopened for fresh investigation and prosecution; and the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau and the Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue may be directed to take every step possible under the law to recover the plundered wealth of the nation and to bring the culprits to book.

 

18.       Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed petitioner appearing in person in Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016 also argued that respondent No. 1 in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 (who is respondent No. 4 in Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016) is liable to be disqualified from membership of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) because he is not “honest” and “ameen” within the purview of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. He maintained that in his Wealth Statement submitted with the income-tax return for the year 2011 respondent No. 1 had mentioned the land purchased by him in the name of his daughter namely Mariam Safdar in Column No. 12 which was meant for “spouse, minor children and other dependents” and, thus, he had acknowledged that the said daughter of his was his dependent but in the same statement in the column relating to family members and dependents respondent No. 1 had not shown her as his dependent which impinged upon his honesty.

 

19.       The statements made by the gentleman from Qatar (to be reproduced and discussed in the later part of this judgment) were described by the said petitioner as hearsay and not based upon personal knowledge. The petitioner further maintained that the said statements of the gentleman from Qatar showed existence of business relations between Al-Thani family of Qatar and the family of respondent No. 1 since prior to the year 1980 but no disclosure in that regard had ever been made by respondent No. 1 at any stage which again reflected adversely upon his honesty.

 

20.       Referring to the judgment and decree passed by the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, London in the year 1999 the petitioner submitted that the relevant four properties in London were placed under caution till satisfaction of the decree and as the said decree had later on been satisfied by respondent No. 1’s family, therefore, the connection between respondent No. 1 and ownership of those properties clearly stood established way back in the year 2000.

 

21.       Regarding the Trust Deed dated February 02, 2006 statedly executed between respondents No. 6 and 7 the petitioner pointed out that the document had not been attested by the Pakistani High Commission, it was not notarized and the witness of the document was not identifiable.

 

22.       According to Mr. Sheikh some documents becoming available on the record showed that it was respondent No. 6 namely Mariam Safdar who was the actual beneficial owner of the relevant properties in London.

 

23.       Adverting to the affidavits of Mr. Tariq Shafi brought on the record by the respondents the petitioner pointed out that Mr. Tariq Shafi was only nineteen years of age and admittedly a Benamidar when the factory in Dubai was set up in his name which fitted into a pattern of respondent No. 1’s family putting up a front man for its businesses and assets and the same pattern was also followed in acquisition of the four properties in London.

 

24.       Mr. Sheikh vehemently argued that respondent No. 1 has not been “honest” with the nation, the National Assembly and this Court in the matter of explaining the mode of acquisition and the resources for acquisition of the properties in London and, thus, he has become disqualified from remaining a member of the National Assembly by virtue of the provisions of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. In this regard he referred to the cases of Muhammad Rizwan Gill v. Nadia Aziz and others (PLD 2010 SC 828), Mian Najeeb-ud-Din Owasi and another v. Amir Yar Waran and others (PLD 2013 SC 482), Malik Iqbal Ahmad Langrial v. Jamshed Alam and others (PLD 2013 SC 179), Mudassar Qayyum Nahra v. Ch. Bilal Ijaz and others (2011 SCMR 80), Malik Umar Aslam v. Mrs. Sumaira Malik and others (2014 SCMR 45), Sadiq Ali Memon v. Returning Officer, NA-237, Thatta-I and others (2013 SCMR 1246), Abdul Ghafoor Lehri v. Returning Officer, PB-29, Naseerabad–II and others (2013 SCMR 1271) and Imtiaz Ahmed Lali v. Ghulam Muhammad Lali (PLD 2007 SC 369). He also maintained that the case in hand involves enforcement of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by Articles 9, 14, 18, 23 and 24 of the Constitution besides attracting Articles 2A and 4 of the Constitution and that the matter is undeniably of great public importance sufficiently attracting the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

 

25.       Mr. Taufiq Asif, ASC appearing for the petitioner in Constitution Petition No. 3 of 2017 argued that respondent No. 1 in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 (who is respondent No. 4 in Constitution Petition No. 3 of 2017) may be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution because he concealed property, made a false declaration in the nomination papers filed in the general elections held in the year 2013 and evaded wealth-tax and income-tax by failing to disclose his properties in London. Referring to the case of Workers' Party Pakistan through Akhtar Hussain, Advocate, General Secretary and 6 others v. Federation of Pakistan and 2 others (PLD 2012 SC 681) he pointed out that in that case this Court had adverted to different definitions of “Honesty” and had held that the question of honesty could be decided on the basis of evidence or even with reference to “conduct” of a person.

 

26.       Referring to the speech made by respondent No. 1 in the National Assembly on May 16, 2016 Mr. Asif pointed out that according to respondent No. 1 Ittefaq Foundries was returned to the family in the year 1980, it became profitable in the year 1983 and in the year 1985 many more factories had been established by the family without disclosing the actual funds becoming available. According to the learned counsel no source of funds for setting up the factory in Dubai had been disclosed in that speech. He maintained that the factory in Dubai was statedly sold in the year 1980 for 33.37 million Dirhams and then the factory in Jeddah was statedly sold in June 2005 for 64 million Riyals (about 17 million US Dollars) but no money trail or banking transaction in that regard had been shown by respondent No. 1. He also highlighted that in that speech respondent No. 1 had completely suppressed any information about any investment by his family in real estate business in Qatar or acquisition of the four properties in London in the name of one of his sons. While referring to different speeches made by respondent No. 1 he pointed out that contradictory stands had been taken by the said respondent regarding the sources of funds and the routes through which such funds had been channeled for acquisition of the relevant properties and assets and such contradictions had raised serious doubts about bona fide of his explanations.

 

27.       The learned counsel for the petitioner also referred to the case of Syed Zafar Ali Shah and others v. General Pervez Musharraf Chief Executive of Pakistan and others (PLD 2000 SC 869) wherein the submissions made on behalf of the Federation of Pakistan had been noted and in those submissions the judgment of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, London dated November 05, 1999, placing of caution on the relevant four properties in London and lifting of that caution upon satisfaction of the decree for about 34 million US Dollars had been mentioned. According to the learned counsel for the petitioner no source of funds for satisfaction of that decree had been disclosed by respondent No. 1 and satisfaction of that decree by the said respondent’s family and lifting of caution on the said properties clearly established a direct connection between those properties and the respondent’s family in the year 2000.

 

28.       Mr. Asif further argued that acquisition of the relevant four properties in London had been admitted by respondent No. 1 and his children, possession of those properties had not been denied and it was always maintained by them that the entire record in that respect was available but no such record had been produced before this Court. According to the learned counsel the initial onus of proof on the petitioners, thus, stood discharged and a heavier onus of proof shifted to respondent No. 1 and his children to explain that the said properties had been acquired through legitimate resources and lawful means but they had completely failed to discharge that onus of proof. He maintained that a fact admitted by a party may not be proved and that the onus of proof in such cases shifts to the person who admits ownership or possession of the property in issue. He referred in this regard to the provisions of Articles 30, 53, 114 and 122 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984.

 

29.       The learned counsel for the petitioner went on to argue that the privilege in connection with a speech in the National Assembly contemplated by the provisions of Article 66 of the Constitution is not absolute and in support of that argument he referred to the case of Syed Masroor Ahsan and others v. Ardeshir Cowasjee and others (PLD 1998 SC 823). He also referred to the provisions of Article 5(2) of the Constitution and to the oath of a Member of the National Assembly (Article 65) and of the Prime Minister (Article 91(5)) prescribed by the Constitution according to which he has to conduct himself honestly in all situations. In the context of Article 66 of the Constitution he pointed out that the Order of the Day for the National Assembly on May 16, 2016 did not mention any speech to be made by respondent No. 1 as the Prime Minister and that no such speech was a part of the agenda of the day. He maintained that although the speech made by respondent No. 1 on that day was something said in the proceedings of the National Assembly yet for the purposes of the privilege contemplated by Article 66 of the Constitution the speech of respondent No. 1 had to be relevant to the matter before the National Assembly and he referred to Rule 31 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007. He pointed out Rule 50 of the said Rules dealing with classes of business and Rule 51 according to which a Tuesday is a private members’ day and May 16, 2016 was a Tuesday. According to him the Speaker of the National Assembly ought not to have allowed respondent No. 1 to make a speech in the National Assembly on that day on a matter which was purely personal to him and if such speech was in fact allowed to be made then it was not a part of the proceedings of the National Assembly and, therefore, no privilege under Article 66 of the Constitution could be claimed for such speech. In the context of the privilege under Article 66 of the Constitution he also relied upon the case of Zahur Ilahi, M.N.A. v. Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (PLD 1975 SC 383) and referred to an article written by Dr. Ken Coghill captioned as “Why Parliamentary Privilege Matters”.

 

30.       Mr. Asif also argued that sanctity is attached to proceedings of the Parliament but by lying before the National Assembly respondent No. 1 had breached that sanctity as well. Regarding sanctity of the Parliament he referred to the cases of Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad Khan Bar v. Chief Election Commissioner Islamabad and others (PLD 2010 SC 817) and Muhammad Rizwan Gill v. Nadia Aziz and others (PLD 2010 SC 828). He pointed out that in his speech in the National Assembly respondent No. 1 had stated that the entire record pertaining to setting up and sale of the factories in Dubai and Jeddah as well as the record pertaining to acquisition of the four properties in London was available and would be produced before any forum inquiring into the matter but no such record had been produced before this Court. He pointed out that respondent No. 1 had also stated before the National Assembly that no privilege or immunity would be claimed by him but before this Court the privilege under Article 66 of the Constitution had been claimed on his behalf. Referring to the oath of office of the Prime Minister he highlighted that respondent No. 1 had sworn that he would discharge his functions honestly and that he would not allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct but in his speech he had expressly stated that as the matter pertained to his family, therefore, he felt obliged to explain the matter.

 

31.       On the issue of the scope of jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution Mr. Asif referred to the cases of Watan Party and another v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2011 SC 997), Workers' Party Pakistan through Akhtar Hussain, Advocate, General Secretary and 6 others v. Federation of Pakistan and 2 others (PLD 2012 SC 681), Muhammad Azhar Siddiqui and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 774), Muhammad Yasin v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Establishment Division, Islamabad and others (PLD 2012 SC 132), Watan Party and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 292) and Pakistan Muslim League (N) through Khawaja Muhammad Asif, M.N.A. and others v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Ministry of Interior and others (PLD 2007 SC 642). He maintained that in an appropriate case this Court may also record evidence so as to ascertain a fact and in that regard he referred to the case of Air Marshal (Retd.) Muhammad Asghar Khan v. General (Retd.) Mirza Aslam Baig, Former Chief of Army Staff and others (PLD 2013 SC 1).

 

32.       Sheikh Ahsan-ud-Din, ASC also briefly addressed arguments on behalf of the petitioner in Constitution Petition No. 3 of 2017 and maintained that the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution is inquisitorial in nature and in an appropriate case this Court may inquire into a fact itself or may get it inquired into or investigated through an appropriate commission, body or agency before reaching a conclusion in the matter. On the issue of respondent No. 6 being a dependent of respondent No. 1 he referred to different definitions of the word ‘dependent’. With reference to the jurisprudence developed in respect of the provisions of section 342, Cr.P.C. he maintained that the speech made by respondent No. 1 in the National Assembly was substantially untrue and, therefore, the same had to be treated as false in toto. He lastly argued that the statements of the gentleman from Qatar brought on the record of this case were nothing but an afterthought.

 

33.       At the outset Mr. Makhdoom Ali Khan, Sr. ASC appearing for Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, respondent No. 1 in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 and respondent No. 4 in Constitution Petitions No. 30 of 2016 and 3 of 2017, submitted that respondent No. 1’s name did not appear in the Panama Papers in any capacity whatsoever, no allegation was leveled against him therein and, thus, he did not have to answer for anything connected with the said issue. The learned counsel, however, hastened to add that some issues had been raised through the present petitions concerning respondent No. 1’s children and in respect of some speeches made by him and, thus, the said respondent felt obliged to offer some explanations in that regard and to make submissions on some legal aspects relevant to the present petitions. 

 

34.       Regarding the speeches made by respondent No. 1 after leakage of the Panama Papers Mr. Khan maintained that no false statement had been made by respondent No. 1 in such speeches and the said speeches did not contain anything which could be termed as a misstatement or a lie. According to him there could be some omissions in the said speeches which could be inadvertent or the fora at which those speeches had been made were not the fora obliging the respondent to make full disclosures. He maintained that in those speeches only a broad overview of the family’s business and assets had been presented by the respondent which business was initially set up and commenced by the respondent’s father in the year 1937, prior to the respondent’s birth, and his father remained incharge of the expanding business till his demise in the year 2004. Mr. Khan submitted that in those speeches respondent No. 1 was not swearing an itemized affidavit or a petition and, thus, precision or correctness of the things stated in those speeches ought not to be judged on that standard. He emphasized that respondent No. 1 had no connection with the factory in Dubai, the factory in Jeddah or the relevant apartments in London and, therefore, some details regarding those properties might not be known to him at the time of making the relevant speeches. Mr. Khan contended that respondent No. 1 was not responsible for his children’s businesses. He also stressed that some interviews given by others could not be utilized to contradict respondent No. 1 so as to be made a basis for his disqualification from membership of the Parliament because it had not been established before this Court as to who was right and who was wrong. He added that an inadvertent omission is to be treated differently from a deliberate suppression. Referring to the provisions of sections 78(3), 82 and 99 of the Representation of the People Act, 2006 Mr. Khan submitted that in the electoral laws of the country making of a false statement or a declaration is a cognizable offence and unless there is a prosecution and recording of a conviction on the basis of such an allegation no court can issue a declaration which may be made a basis of a disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. He also referred to the case of Aftab Shaban Mirani v. President of Pakistan and others (1998 SCMR 1863) for maintaining that a mere press statement made by a person cannot be made a basis for disqualifying him even if making of such statement is not denied by him.

 

35.       Mr. Khan also argued that the bar for disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution is higher than the bar for disqualification under section 99(1)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 because for the constitutional disqualification a prior declaration by a court of law is required whereas the said requirement is not there for the statutory disqualification. In support of this argument he referred to the cases of Muhammad Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry v. Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar and others (2016 SCMR 1), Malik Umar Aslam v. Mrs. Sumaira Malik and others (2014 SCMR 45), Malik Iqbal Ahmad Langrial v. Jamshed Alam and others (PLD 2013 SC 179), Muhammad Khan Junejo v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, M/O Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and others (2013 SCMR 1328), Abdul Ghafoor Lehri v. Returning Officer, PB-29, Naseerabad–II and others (2013 SCMR 1271), Allah Dino Khan Bhayo v. Election Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad and others (2013 SCMR 1655), Mian Najeeb-ud-Din Owasi and another v. Amir Yar Waran and others (PLD 2013 SC 482), Mudassar Qayyum Nahra v. Ch. Bilal Ijaz and others (2011 SCMR 80), Haji Nasir Mehmood v. Mian Imran Masood and others (PLD 2010 SC 1089), Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad Khan Bar v. Chief Election Commissioner Islamabad and others (PLD 2010 SC 817), Muhammad Rizwan Gill v. Nadia Aziz and others (PLD 2010 SC 828), Muhammad Khan Junejo v. Fida Hussain Dero and others (PLD 2004 SC 452), Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan v. Muhammad Ajmal (PLD 2010 SC 1066), Muhammad Siddique Baloch v. Jehangir Khan Tareen and others (PLD 2016 SC 97), General (R.) Pervez Musharraf v. Election Commission of Pakistan and another (2013 CLC 1461), Gohar Nawaz Sindhu v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others (PLD 2014 Lahore 670) and Ishaq Khan Khakwani and others v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others (PLD 2015 SC 275). Referring to the cases of Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan v. Muhammad Ajmal (PLD 2010 SC 1066) and Muhammad Siddique Baloch v. Jehangir Khan Tareen and others (PLD 2016 SC 97) Mr. Khan maintained that affirmative evidence is required to establish dishonesty for the purposes of electoral disqualification and that the threshold has to be very high for disqualifying a person on the basis of qualifications which are obscure and vague. He also contended that no declaration about honesty can be made without there being a prior adjudication made by a court on the subject and in this regard he relied upon the cases of Suo Motu Case No. 4 of 2010 (Contempt proceedings against Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan) (PLD 2012 SC 553) and Muhammad Azhar Siddique and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 660). He pointed out that in the cases of Umar Ahmad Ghumman v. Government of Pakistan and others (PLD 2002 Lahore 521) and Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Law and others (PLD 2012 SC 1089) some persons were declared to be disqualified in exercise of the constitutional jurisdiction on the ground of holding dual nationality in the absence of a prior adjudication in that regard but in those cases the facts were either admitted/undisputed or the same were conveniently ascertainable with minimum inquiry. He also referred to the case of Sadiq Ali Memon v. Returning Officer, NA-237, Thatta-I and others (2013 SCMR 1246) wherein dual nationality was not disputed and was in fact admitted. He also referred to the case of Dr. Sher Afgan Khan Niazi v. Mr. Imran Khan (Reference No. 1 of 2007) wherein Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, one of the present petitioners, had successfully maintained before the Election Commission of Pakistan that post-election disputes fell only under Article 63 and not under Article 62 of the Constitution. It was, however, conceded by Mr. Khan that a decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan is not binding upon this Court.

 

36.       Adverting to the speech made by respondent No. 1 in the National Assembly on May 16, 2016 Mr. Khan referred to Article 66(1) of the Constitution which reads as under:

 

“66.        (1)           Subject to the Constitution and to the rules of procedure of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), there shall be freedom of speech in Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and no member shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) of any report, paper, votes or proceedings.”

 

He relied upon the universally acknowledged concept of parliamentary privilege recognized by the said provision of the Constitution for maintaining that respondent No. 1 cannot be “liable to any proceedings in any court” on the basis of any statement made by him on the floor of the National Assembly. He pointed out that the said privilege is subject to the Constitution and the only provisions of the Constitution relevant to the issue are those of Articles 68 and 204 placing restriction on discussing conduct of any Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties and commission of contempt of court. For highlighting various aspects of the concept of parliamentary privilege Mr. Khan referred to the cases of Lahore Development Authority through D. G. and others  v. Ms. Imrana Tiwana and others (2015 SCMR 1739), Pakistan  v. Ahmad Saeed Kirmani and others (PLD 1958 SC (Pak) 397), Regina v. Chaytor (2011 UKSC 52), [2011] 1 A.C. 684, Zahur Ilahi, M.N.A. v. Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (PLD 1975 SC 383), United States v. Thomas F. Johnson (383 U.S. 169), Gohar Nawaz Sindhu v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others (PLD 2014 Lahore 670), A v. United Kingdom (35373/97) (2003) 36 E.H.R.R 51, Tej Kiran Jain and others v. M. Sanjiva Reddy and others (AIR 1970 SC 1573), Dr. Suresh Chandra Banerji and others v. Punit Goala (AIR 1951 Calcutta 176), In the matter of Special Reference No. 1 of 1964 (AIR 1965 SC 745), Wason, Ex parte (1868-69) L.R. 4 Q.B. 573 and Richard William Prebble v. Television New Zealand Ltd. (1995) 1 A.C. 321. He also read out parts of some authoritative works and treatises on the subject and also referred to some similar provisions of the Indian Constitution and their interpretations by the courts of that country.

 

37.       Mr. Khan pointed out that through these petitions allegations have been leveled against respondent No. 1 regarding evasion of tax on the sale proceeds of the factory in Dubai worth about 9 million US Dollars; regarding late filing of Wealth Statements for the years 2011 and 2012 (which allegation was not pressed during the arguments); regarding the gifts of Rs. 31,700,000 by respondent No. 1 to respondent No. 6 and of Rs. 19,459,440 by respondent No. 1 to respondent No. 8 being sham and not disclosed; and in respect of the gifts received by respondent No. 1 from respondent No. 7 not having been treated as income from other sources. According to him the said allegations attract the provisions of Article 63(1)(o) of the Constitution and section 99(1A)(t) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 but in terms of the facts of the present case the disqualification mentioned in those provisions is not relevant. He maintained that the crucial factors for the said disqualification are “default” and “dues” and it has already been clarified in the cases of National Bank of Pakistan and 117 others v. SAF textile Ltd. and another (PLD 2014 SC 283), Messrs Summit Bank Limited through Manager v. Qasim & Co. through Muhammad Alam and another (2015 SCMR 1341) and Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan v. Sanaullah and others (PLD 1988 SC 67) that in the absence of any adjudication there cannot be any dues and, hence, no default can be alleged. According to him no determination had been made and no finding had been recorded by any tax authority against respondent No. 1 in respect of any tax due. He also clarified that respondent No. 1 was neither a Director nor a shareholder of the factory in Dubai. Mr. Khan went on to submit that the Wealth-Tax Act, 1963 was repealed in the year 2003, at the time of repeal of that law no proceeding was pending against respondent No. 1 and, therefore, at this stage no officer or machinery is available to determine any concealment, etc. by the said respondent rendering the issue dead. With reference to the record placed before this Court he pointed out that the gifts made by respondent No. 1 in favour of respondents No. 6 and 8 were actually disclosed by respondent No. 1 in his Wealth Statements and such payments had been made through cheques which had also been placed on the record. As regards the gifts made by respondent No. 7 in favour of respondent No. 1 it was submitted by him that respondent No. 7 had a National Tax Number in Pakistan and he was a non-resident Pakistani and, therefore, gifts made by him in favour of his father could not be treated as income from other sources as is evident from the provisions of section 39(3) read with sections 81, 111, 114, 116, 120, 120(2) of the Income-Tax Ordinance, 2001. He also pointed out that by virtue of the provisions of sections 122(2) and 122(5) of the Income-Tax Ordinance, 2001 finality stood attached to the matter after five years of commencement of the assessment order even if there had been any concealment. In support of the submissions made above he relied upon the cases of Commissioner Income-Tax Company Zone-II, Karachi v. Messrs Sindh Engineering (Pvt.) Limited (2002 SCMR 527), Income-Tax Officer and another v. M/s. Chappal Builders (1993 SCMR 1108), Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Justice, Islamabad v. Sindh High Court Bar Association through President and another (PLD 2012 SC 1067), Assistant Director, Intelligence and Investigation, Karachi v. M/s B. R. Herman and others (PLD 1992 SC 485) and Re State of Norway’s Application (No.1) (1989) 1 All ER 661.

 

38.       On the issue of respondent No. 6 allegedly being a dependent of respondent No. 1 Mr. Khan argued that the nomination papers filed by respondent No. 1 for election to NA-120 before the general elections held in the country in the year 2013 had correctly been filled, no misstatement was made by him in the relevant solemn affirmation regarding the list of his dependents and the Wealth Statement filed by him for the year 2011 was quite correct. He explained that in Column No. 12 of the said Wealth Statement some land purchased by respondent No. 1 in the name of respondent No. 6 had been shown but actually respondent No. 1 was not his dependent and a mention to her had been made in Column No. 12 only because in the relevant form there was no other column for disclosure of the land purchased. He further clarified that respondent No. 6 had not been mentioned by respondent No. 1 in Column No. 18 of the same form in respect of dependents. He also pointed out that later on the income-tax form was amended and a new Column No. 14 was introduced therein for “Assets in others’ name”. Mr. Khan drew our attention towards a clarification issued by a reputed firm of chartered accountants wherein it was asserted and opined that the land purchased by respondent No. 1 in the name of respondent No. 6 had been shown in Column No. 12 of the relevant form because the said form did not contain any other column wherein the above mentioned purchase by the father in the name of his daughter could be shown. According to Mr. Khan showing the relevant purchase by respondent No. 1, be it in a wrong column, established bona fide of the said respondent and that was surely better than suppressing the said information. He emphatically maintained that respondent No. 6 was a married lady having grown up children, she was a part of a joint family living in different houses situated in the same compound, she contributed towards some of the expenses incurred, submitted her independent tax returns, owned sizeable property in her own name, was capable of surviving on her own and she could not be termed a ‘dependent’ merely because she periodically received gifts from her father and brothers. He drew our attention toward a chart showing the details of the agricultural land owned by respondent No. 6 and referred to the cases of M. A. Faheemuddin Farhum v. Managing Director/Member (Water) WAPDA, WAPDA House, Lahore and others (2001 SCMR 1955), In re Ball. Decd. (1947) 1 Ch. 228 and In Re Baden’s Deed Trusts (No.2) (1973) Ch. 9 wherein the term ‘dependent’ had been interpreted. He clarified that as far as some foreign judgments on the issue of dependence were concerned they were merely of persuasive value but where interpretation of some foreign law is involved there the foreign law is to be formally proved as a question of fact, as held in the case of Atlantic Steamer’s Supply Company v. M. V. Titisee and others (PLD 1993 SC 88). He also referred to the definition of ‘Benamidar’ contained in the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 and to the cases of Abdul Majeed and others v. Amir Muhammad and others (2005 SCMR 577), Ghani-ur-Rehman v. National Accountability Bureau and others (PLD 2011 SC 1144) and Mst. Asia Bibi v. Dr. Asif Ali Khan and others (PLD 2011 SC 829) wherein the said term had been interpreted. In view of the interpretations of the terms ‘dependent’ and ‘Benamidar’ in the said precedent cases Mr. Khan argued that respondent No. 6 could not be treated or accepted as a dependent of respondent No. 1. He also maintained that very clear proof of dependence of one person on another is required before a court of law and in that connection he relied upon the cases of Amir Bibi through legal heirs v. Muhammad Khurshid and others (2003 SCMR 1261) and Ch. Muhammad Siddique and another v. Mst. Faiz Mai and others (PLD 2012 SC 211). Mr. Khan emphasized that the alleged dependence of respondent No. 6 on respondent No. 1, even if established, was relevant to the year 2011 and not to the year 2013 when nomination papers were filed by respondent No. 1 for contesting an election in the general elections. He also pointed out that the issue of respondent No. 6 allegedly being a dependent of respondent No. 1 is already pending before the Election Commission of Pakistan and, therefore, he submitted that this Court may withhold any comment on that issue in the present proceedings.

 

39.       Mr. Khan categorically submitted that respondent No. 1 did not question competence and maintainability of the present petitions filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution because they involved questions of public importance with reference to many Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part II of the Constitution but he maintained that the scope of jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution is limited and in exercise of such jurisdiction a person may not be disqualified from membership of the Parliament on the basis of disputed or unverified facts. In support of that submission he relied upon the cases of Khuda Bakhsh  v. Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali (1997 SCMR 561), Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Law and others (PLD 2012 SC 1089), Pakistan Muslim League (N) through Khawaja Muhammad Asif, M.N.A. and others v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Ministry of Interior and others (PLD 2007 SC 642), Commissioner of Income Tax v. Eli Lilly Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd. (2009 SCMR 1279), Islamic Republic of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Kashmir Affairs, Islamabad v. Abdul Wali Khan, M.N.A., Former President of Defunct National Awami Party (PLD 1976 SC 57), Begum Nusrat Bhutto v. Chief of Army Staff and Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1977 SC 657), Wattan Party through President v. Federation of Pakistan through Cabinet Committee of Privatization, Islamabad (PLD 2006 SC 697), Muhammad Saeed and 4 others v. Election Petitions Tribunal, Mehr Muhammad Arif, Ghulam Haider, West Pakistan Government and others (PLD 1957 SC 91), Saeed Hassan v. Pyar Ali and 7 others (PLD 1976 SC 6), Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and another v. President of Pakistan and others (PLD 1998 SC 388), Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto v. President of Pakistan and 2 others (PLD 2000 SC 77) and many other cases. In this context he also maintained that the book by Mr. Raymond W. Baker titled “Capitalism’s Achilles Heel” relied upon by the learned counsel for one of the petitioners was not evidence but was merely an opinion of the author. He also argued that newspaper reports were not sufficient proof of the facts stated therein, as observed in the cases of Messr Balagamwallah Cotton Ginning & Pressing Factory, Karachi v. Lalchand (PLD 1961 Karachi 1), Aftab Shaban Mirani v. President of Pakistan and others (1998 SCMR 1863) and Muhammad Azam v. Khalid Javed Gillani, etc. (1981 SCMR 734). He pointed out that a Writ Petition was already pending before the Lahore High Court, Lahore on the same subject and three petitions were also pending before the Election Commission of Pakistan seeking disqualification of respondent No. 1 on the basis of the same issues and, therefore, this Court ought not to interfere in the matter at such a stage through exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

 

40.       Mr. Shahid Hamid, Sr. ASC represented respondent No. 6 namely Mariam Safdar (daughter of respondent No. 1), respondent No. 9 namely Captain (Retd.) Muhammad Safdar (husband of respondent No. 6 and son-in-law of respondent No. 1) and respondent No. 10 namely Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar (a Samdhi of respondent No. 1 and the incumbent Finance Minister of Pakistan) before us and at the outset he adopted all the arguments of Mr. Makhdoom Ali Khan, Sr. ASC representing respondent No. 1. He also pointed out in the beginning that no allegation had been leveled against respondent No. 6 in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 but relief had been prayed therein regarding her disqualification under Article 63(1)(o) of the Constitution. He further pointed out that in Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016 and also in Constitution Petition No. 3 of 2017 respondents No. 6, 9 and 10 had not been arrayed as parties and no relief had been prayed against them in those petitions. He submitted that the questions to be answered by him were in respect of respondent No. 9’s tax returns, the assets of his wife, i.e. respondent No. 6, the asserted dependence of respondent No. 6 on respondent No. 1 and the allegations leveled against respondent No. 10.

 

41.       Mr. Hamid pointed out that respondents No. 6 and 9 had placed on the record of these petitions copies of the tax returns of respondent No. 6 for the years 2011 and 2012, the tax returns of respondent No. 1 for the years 2011 and 2012, an opinion of a reputed tax consultancy firm about correctness of the tax returns filed by respondent No. 1, the license granted for setting up a factory in Dubai, the lease deed for obtaining land in Dubai for setting up a factory, the land rent agreement executed in Dubai, the tripartite sale agreement in respect of sale of 75% shares of the factory in Dubai, the shares sale certificate pertaining to sale of the remaining 25% shares of the factory in Dubai, a photograph taken at the time of inauguration of the factory in Dubai, two affidavits of Mr. Tariq Shafi who was the Benamidar owner of the factory in Dubai, incorporation certificates of Nescoll Limited and Nielsen Enterprises Limited, all the share certificates in favour of respondent No. 7, a trust deed qua a company named Coomber, a trust deed dated 02/04.02.2006, two statements of a gentleman from Qatar, income-tax returns of respondent No. 6 from the year 2011 to the year 2016, income-tax returns of respondent No. 6’s grandmother from the year 2011 to the year 2016, wealth statement of respondent No. 1 for the year 2010 showing agricultural land in the ownership of respondent No. 6, bank statements of respondent No. 1 showing that all the relevant transactions were carried out through banks, SRO No. 84(I)/2015 amending the income-tax return form and the nomination papers of respondent No. 1 showing that respondent No. 1 lived in his mother’s house.

 

42.       Mr. Hamid maintained that respondent No. 6’s alleged beneficial ownership of the apartments in London was a disputed question of fact and the allegation leveled in that regard was based upon forged documents produced by the petitioners. He relied upon a book written by Dr. B. R. Sharma on the law relating to handwriting, etc. and also upon the case of Syed Hafeezuddin v. Abdul Razzaq and others (PLD 2016 SC 79) on the issue of forgery of signatures. He argued that in cases involving public interest litigation the petitioner must come to the court with clean hands and with concrete facts which are verifiable and in that regard he referred to the cases of Muhammad Shafique Khan Sawati v. Federation Of Pakistan through Secretary Ministry of Water and Power, Islamabad and others (2015 SCMR 851), Syed Zafar Ali Shah and others v. General Pervez Musharraf Chief Executive of Pakistan and others (PLD 2000 SC 869), Echo West International (Pvt.) Ltd. Lahore v. Government of Punjab through Secretary and 4 others (PLD 2009 SC 406), Moulvi Iqbal Haider  v. Capital Development Authority and others (PLD 2006 SC 394), Javed Ibrahim Paracha v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2004 SC 482), T. N. Godavarman Thirimulpad v. Union of India and Ors (AIR 2006 SC 1774), Janata Dal v. H. S. Chowdhary and Ors (AIR 1993 SC 892), S. P. Gupta v. President of India and Ors (AIR 1982 SC 149), Syed Hafeezuddin v. Abdul Razzaq and others (PLD 2016 SC 79) and M. A. Faheemuddin Farhum v. Managing Director/Member (Water) WAPDA, WAPDA House, Lahore and others (2001 SCMR 1955). He categorically submitted that respondent No. 6 was a mere trustee of one of the two offshore companies on behalf of respondent No. 7 and she had no other interest in the said companies or the properties owned by them.

 

43.       On the issue of the alleged dependence of respondent No. 6 on respondent No. 1 Mr. Hamid pointed out that there was no definition of ‘dependent’ provided in the Income-Tax Ordinance, 2001, section 2(33) of the said Ordinance provided for a “minor child” but section 90(8)(b) of that Ordinance provided that a “minor child” did not include a married daughter. He also pointed out that section 116(1)(b) of the said Ordinance referred to “other dependents” without defining them. He also referred in that context to section 116(2) of that Ordinance pertaining to a wealth statement, Rule 36 of the Income-Tax Rules, 2002 and Part IV of the Second Schedule containing the form of Wealth-Tax (amended on 26.8.2015) highlighting that assets in others’ names were contemplated in the said provisions but such others had not been defined. He further referred to the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and pointed out that even the said Act did not contain any definition of the word ‘dependent’ although the word ‘dependents’ found a mention in section 12(2)(d) of the said Act. He also referred to section 14(3)(c) of that Act pertaining to scrutiny of nomination papers and to section 14(5) of the said Act relevant to an appeal in that regard and then drew our attention towards a form captioned ‘Statement of Assets and Liabilities’ provided in the Representation of the People (Conduct of Election) Rules, 1977 and pointed out that in the verification provided in that form the word ‘dependents’ is mentioned. He also read out section 5(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 in the Explanation whereof the word ‘dependents’ is mentioned without defining or elaborating the same. In the absence of any statutory definition of the word ‘dependent’ Mr. Hamid referred to the case of M. A. Faheemuddin Farhum v. Managing Director/Member (Water) WAPDA, WAPDA House, Lahore and others (2001 SCMR 1955) and Black’s Law Dictionary in order to explain as to what the word ‘dependent’ meant. In that backdrop he vehemently argued that respondent No. 6 was not a dependent of respondent No. 1 at the time of filing of nomination papers by him on March 31, 2013. He maintained that the previous financial year had ended on June 30, 2012 whereas tax details of respondent No. 6 for the last 5 years till June 30, 2012 provided to this Court clearly showed that she was a lady of means and not dependent on respondent No. 1 financially. He pointed out that through a sale deed dated October 13, 2010 land worth Rs. 47,52,000/- had been purchased by respondent No. 1 in the name of respondent No. 6, through a sale deed dated December 14, 2010 land worth Rs. 34,78,750/- had been purchased by respondent No. 1 in the name of respondent No. 6, through a sale deed dated March 01, 2011 land worth Rs. 22,76,000/- had been purchased by respondent No. 1 in the name of respondent No. 6 and through a sale deed dated February 07, 2011 land worth Rs. 1,33,93,000/- had been purchased by respondent No. 1 in the name of respondent No. 6 and all the above mentioned sales had been registered on April 14, 2011. It was, thus, maintained by Mr. Hamid that, irrespective of the fact that the above mentioned assets had been gifted to her by her father, respondent No. 6 was for all intents and purposes a lady owning considerable property and, therefore, she could not be said to be dependent on her father for her sustenance or survival. According to him, a lady owning property worth about Rs. 20 crores could not be termed as dependent on anybody. He went on to maintain that all the tax returns and statements submitted by respondent No. 6 had been accepted by the concerned taxation authorities and the same had never been challenged and, therefore, after a lapse of the five years’ statutory period such returns and statements could not be reopened or questioned at any subsequent stage.

 

44.       Adverting to the case against respondent No. 9 Mr. Hamid conceded that the said respondent had not filed any tax return before the year 2014 and that a National Tax Number had been issued in his name for the first time on January 28, 2014. He also admitted that for contesting the elections in the year 2013 respondent No. 9 had submitted the wealth statement and the tax return of his wife (respondent No. 6) with his nomination papers. While defending respondent No. 9 Mr. Hamid referred to sections 114 and 182 of the Income-Tax Ordinance, 2001 and also pointed out that the same issue was already pending before the Election Commission of Pakistan through five different petitions filed before it by different persons and also before the Lahore High Court, Lahore through a Writ Petition filed before it by an interested person. He maintained that respondent No. 9 was just a member of the National Assembly against whom no relief had been prayed for in these petitions and respondent No. 6 did not even hold a public office and, therefore, the matters against them did not involve any question of public importance with reference to enforcement of the Fundamental Rights conferred by the Constitution so as to attract the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

 

45.       As far as respondent No. 10 namely Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar (a Samdhi of respondent No. 1 and the incumbent Finance Minister of Pakistan) is concerned Mr. Hamid pointed out that respondent No. 1 and some members of his family, etc. had been implicated as accused persons in FIR No. 12 of 1994 registered at Police Station Federal Investigation Agency, SIU, Islamabad on November 10, 1994 and also in FIR No. 13 of 1994 registered at Police Station Federal Investigation Agency, SIU, Islamabad on November 12, 1994 wherein various allegations, including those of money laundering, had been leveled but after submission of the Challans in those cases Writ Petitions No. 12172 and 12173 of 1997 filed by a nephew of respondent No. 1 were allowed by the Lahore High Court, Lahore on May 27, 1997, the Challans were quashed and the accused persons were acquitted. He informed that respondent No. 10 was not an accused person in those criminal cases and the Lahore High Court, Lahore had decided the above mentioned Writ Petitions at a time when respondent No. 1 was the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the said decision of the High Court had not been challenged before this Court by the Federal Investigation Agency or the State.

 

46.       Mr. Hamid then referred to Reference No. 5 of 2000 filed by the National Accountability Bureau before an Accountability Court against respondents No. 1 and 10 and some others with allegations of money laundering, etc. to the tune of Rs. 1242.732 million (over Rs. 1.2 billion) and in that Reference reliance had also been placed upon a judicial confession made by respondent No. 10 before a Magistrate First Class, Lahore on April 25, 2000. He pointed out that initially respondent No. 10 was an accused person in the said Reference but on the basis of his judicial confession the said respondent was granted pardon by the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau and was not treated as an accused person in the final Reference wherein he had been cited as a prosecution witness. It was alleged in that Reference that respondent No. 10 was instrumental in laundering of 14.886 million US Dollars upon the instructions and for the benefit of respondent No. 1 by opening fake foreign currency accounts in different banks in the names of others. He pointed out that Writ Petition No. 2617 of 2011 filed before the Lahore High Court, Lahore in connection with that Reference was allowed by a learned Division Bench of the said Court on December 03, 2012 and the said Reference was quashed through a unanimous judgment but the learned Judges disagreed with each other over permissibility of reinvestigation of the matter whereupon the matter was referred to a learned Referee Judge who held on March 11, 2014 that reinvestigation of the case was not permissible. Even that judgment of the Lahore High Court, Lahore was not challenged by the National Accountability Bureau or the State before this Court and incidentally respondent No. 1 was again the Prime Minister of Pakistan at that time. He also submitted that a Writ Petition challenging respondent No. 10’s election to the Senate on account of making of the above mentioned confessional statement by him was dismissed in limine by the Islamabad High Court, Islamabad because the writ-petitioner had not appended a copy of the confessional statement with the Writ Petition filed by him. He went on to submit that the allegations leveled against respondent No. 10 were over twenty-five years old and such allegations pertained to the year 1992 when the said respondent did not hold any public office. He further submitted that in the Challans quashed in the year 1997 respondent No. 10 was not an accused person and quashing of Reference No. 5 of 2000 had become final by now attracting the principle of autrefois acquit recognized by Article 13 of the Constitution, section 403, Cr.P.C. and section 26 of the General Clauses Act.

 

47.       While representing respondents No. 7 and 8 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif, both sons of respondent No. 1, Mr. Salman Akram Raja, ASC submitted at the outset that by comparison of their verbal or written statements respondents No. 7 and 8 are not to be treated as the standard to judge correctness and honesty of respondent No. 1 because it could well be that respondent No. 1 is correct and honest in the matter and respondents No. 7 and 8 are not. He pointed out that no relief has directly been prayed for against respondents No. 7 and 8 in these petitions. He also made a categorical statement that respondent No. 7 is the exclusive owner of the relevant four properties in London since the year 2006. He maintained that it was not possible to determine facts stretching over a period of about fifty years and that on the basis of the available record respondent No. 1 or his children could not be held culpable. He argued that in cases of corruption, and particularly those under section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, the initial burden of proof is on the prosecution and then the burden of proof shifting to the accused person is only to explain to the satisfaction of the court and such burden is discharged if the offered defence falls in the realm of possibilities. He place reliance in that regard on the cases of Khalid Aziz v. The State (2011 SCMR 136) and The State v. Anwar Saifullah Khan (PLD 2016 SC 276). He maintained that no wrongdoing on the part of respondent No. 1 and his children had been established in this case and, thus, the defence offered by them is to accepted in toto in terms of the principle of criminal law reiterated in the case of State v. Muhammad Hanif and 5 others (1992 SCMR 2047). He emphasized that the explanations offered by respondent No. 7 do fall in the realm of possibilities and, therefore, the same ought to be accepted.

 

48.       Mr. Raja submitted that the relevant record in respect of setting up and sale of the factories in Dubai and Jeddah had been made available before this Court which sales had fetched 12 million Dirhams and 20,630,000 Riyals (about 17 million US Dollars). With reference to an affidavit of Mr. Abdul Raman Muhammad Abdullah Kayed Ahli and two affidavits of Mr. Tariq Shafi he maintained that receipt of 12 million Dirhams as sale proceeds of the remaining shares of the factory in Dubai and delivery of the said amount in cash in installments to Mr. Fahad Bin Jassim of Qatar (elder brother of Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim) had been established which money later on became the source of funds for acquisition of the four properties in London.

 

49.       Mr. Raja stated that the family of respondent No. 1 has been in possession of the properties in London since the years 1993/1996 because respondents No. 7 and 8 were studying in England at that time. He submitted that apart from the judgment and decree of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, London passed and issued in the year 1999 there was no link established between respondent No. 1’s children and ownership of those properties before the year 2006. In that respect he referred to an affidavit of Mr. Shezi Nackvi (a representative of the decree holder Al-Towfeek Company) dated January 13, 2017 according to which no meeting or correspondence had ever taken place between respondent No. 1 and any representative of the decree holder till the decree was settled upon payment of 8 million US Dollars. He pointed out that the loan obtained from Al-Towfeek Company stood duly mentioned in the relevant Financial Statement of Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited of which some of respondent No. 1’s children were Directors at that time. He also pointed out that according to the written statement of Mr. Shezi Nackvi filed before the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, London an attachment order in respect of the relevant four properties in London had been sought by the decree holder on the basis of a report prepared by Mr. A. Rehman Malik of the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan whereas, according to Mr. Raja, Mr. A. Rehman Malik had prepared that report at a time when he was under suspension and he had compiled that report on his own and, thus, the report had no legal standing.

 

50.       Giving the background of the relevant four properties in London Mr. Raja submitted that Al-Thani family of Qatar had acquired the two offshore companies owning the said properties in the years 1993, 1995 and 1996 and in January 2006 the Bearer Share Certificates of the two companies were handed over by Al-Thani family to a representative of respondent No. 7. He added that upon instructions of respondent No. 7 Minerva Holdings Limited took over management of the two offshore companies on January 26, 2006, Arrina Limited was entrusted with management service for the two companies on February 06, 2006, JPCA Corporate Accountants took over administration of the two companies from Minerva Holdings Limited and thereafter two of the relevant properties were mortgaged with Deutche Bank (Suisse) SA on September 02, 2008. He, however, went on to admit that the information supplied by respondents No. 6 and 7 in respect of the relevant four properties was “incomplete”.

 

51.       Adverting to the laws of the British Virgin Islands vis-à-vis companies and their ownership Mr. Raja informed that section 28 of the International Business Companies Act, 1984 provided for registered shares and bearer shares and section 31 provided that a bearer share was transferable by delivery of the certificate relating to the share. He also referred to the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001, the British Virgin Islands Business Companies Act, 2004 and an article on ‘The BVI Bearer Shares Regime’ and went on to inform that in July 2006 the bearer shares of the relevant two companies were cancelled and registered shares were issued in favour of Minerva Holdings Limited on behalf of respondent No. 7.

 

52.       On the issue of the asserted dependence of respondent No. 6 on respondent No. 1 Mr. Raja maintained that no valid document had been produced by the petitioners before this Court to establish any proprietary interest of respondent No. 6 in the relevant four properties in London and, therefore, there was hardly any question of respondent No. 1 being declared disqualified on his stated failure to disclose respondent No. 6 as his dependent or failure to declare any property of respondent No. 6 as his property in his nomination papers filed in the general elections held in the country in the year 2013 or in his tax returns. 

 

53.       As far as the speeches made by respondent No. 1 before the nation and in the National Assembly were concerned Mr. Raja maintained that the “imperfections in the speeches” did not provide a valid basis for holding that an asserted fact or an allegation about respondent No. 1 not being honest was proved.

 

54.       Addressing the Court on the scope of determining a fact in exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution Mr. Raja referred to the case of Suo Motu action regarding allegation of business deal between Malik Riaz Hussain and Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar attempting to influence the judicial process (PLD 2012 SC 664) wherein the scope of inquisitorial proceedings under Article 184(3) of the Constitution was discussed and in view of the “object” of those suo motu proceedings the relevant statutory authorities were activated under the supervision of this Court. On the said subject he also referred to the cases of Muhammad Asghar Khan v. Mirza Aslam Baig, Former Chief of Army Staff (PLD 2013 SC 1), Watan Party and another v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2011 SC 997), Moulvi Iqbal Haider and others v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary M/o Law and Justice and others (2013 SCMR 1683), General Secretary, West Pakistan Salt Miners Labour Union (CBA) Khewra, Jhelum v. The Director, Industries and Mineral Development, Punjab, Lahore (1994 SCMR 2061), Ms. Shehla Zia and others v. WAPDA (PLD 1994 SC 693), Mehr Zulfiqar Ali Babu and others v. Government of The Punjab and others (PLD 1997 SC 11) and Watan Party and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 292). He also relied upon the case of Emperor v. Khawaja Nazir Ahmed (AIR 1945 Privy Council 18) to assert that independence of an investigating agency and the investigative process is as important and desirable as independence of the judiciary. He pointed out that the said aspect was also emphasized by this Court in the case of Malik Shaukat Ali Dogar and 12 others v. Ghulam Qasim Khan Khakwani and others (PLD 1994 SC 281). Relying upon the case of State v. Muhammad Hanif and 5 others (1992 SCMR 2047) he pointed out that in criminal cases the statement of an accused person recorded under section 342, Cr.P.C. has to be accepted or rejected in its entirety and, thus, while exercising this Court’s jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in respect of a matter involving an alleged criminality the inculpatory part of the statement cannot be separated from the exculpatory part. Dilating upon meanings of the word “declaration” in the context of Article 184(3) of the Constitution he submitted that accusitory function cannot be resorted to before an administrative tribunal and in that context he referred to the cases of Jenkins v. McKeithen (395 U.S. 411 (1969)) and Hannah Et Al v. Larche Et Al (363 U.S. 420 (1960)) but conceded that the said judgments were not relevant to a declaration made under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan. He further argued that no right of appeal was provided against a judgment delivered under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and, therefore, extra care is required to be taken while making a declaration under that jurisdiction and for that submission he relied upon the cases of Khan Asfandyar Wali and others v. Federation of Pakistan through Cabinet Division, Islamabad and others (PLD 2001 SC 607), Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Defence v. The General Public (PLD 1989 SC 6) and Federation Of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Religious Affairs/Minority Affairs, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad v. Mufti Iftikhar-ud-Din and another (2000 SCMR 1). He went on to maintain that no fishing or roving inquiry can be made while exercising the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and he referred to the cases of Jam Madad Ali v. Asghar Ali Junejo and others (2016 SCMR 251) and Dr. Akhtar Hassan Khan and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (2012 SCMR 455) in support of that submission. With reference to the Fundamental Right guaranteed by Article 19A of the Constitution he argued that the right to access to information does not extend to gathering of information from private persons and such right is relevant only where information already exists and not where the right is asserted for creating information. He lastly submitted that in exercise of this Court’s jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution ordinarily no evidence is recorded and no right of cross-examination of witnesses is available besides the absence of any right of appeal and, therefore, in an appropriate case it may be argued that rendering a finding of fact in exercise of such jurisdiction may militate against the Fundamental Right guaranteed by Article 10A of the Constitution regarding fair trial and due process.

 

55.       Respondent No. 2 namely Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Chairman, National Accountability Bureau appeared before the Court in person on February 21, 2017 along with the learned Prosecutor-General Accountability and he maintained that the National Accountability Bureau was cognizant of its duties and responsibilities in connection with the issues arising out of the Panama Papers but respondent No. 2 was waiting for the “regulators” to look into the matter first. We repeatedly asked him to elaborate as to who those “regulators” were and where did they figure in the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 but he did not even bother to respond to those questions and conveniently kept quiet! When his attention was drawn towards the provisions of section 18 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 according to which the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau could take cognizance of such a matter on his own he simply stated that he would take action in terms of the Ordinance. On that occasion the Court wondered who the referred to “regulators” could be because the same word had also been used in the two statements of a gentleman from Qatar brought on the record of the case by the children of respondent No. 1. When asked by the Court as to whether he would consider challenging before this Court the judgment passed by the Lahore High Court, Lahore quashing Reference No. 5 of 2000 and barring reinvestigation into that matter by the National Accountability Bureau or not he categorically stated that at the relevant time he had decided not to file any petition/appeal against that judgment and he had no intention to do that at this stage either.    

 

56.       Respondent No. 5 namely Dr. Muhammad Irshad, Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue appeared before this Court in person along with his learned counsel on February 21, 2017 and apprised the Court that after disclosures made through the Panama Papers the Federal Board of Revenue approached the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for access to the Panaman authorities for obtaining information about the Pakistani citizens involved in the scam but it did not receive any response and then notices were issued by the Federal Board of Revenue on September 02, 2016 to 334 persons located out of the 444 persons named in connection with that scam through the print and electronic media. He informed that only a few out of those 334 persons responded to the notices and they included respondents No. 6, 7 and 8 herein. According to him in her response dated November 21, 2016 respondent No. 6 denied the allegations whereas through their response of the same date respondents No. 7 and 8 maintained that they were Non-resident Pakistanis and, thus, owning offshore companies by them did not fall within the jurisdiction of the Federal Board of Revenue. The Chairman stated before the Court in categorical terms that no further steps had been taken by him in the matter. Later on through a miscellaneous application filed on February 28, 2017 respondent No. 5 placed an formation before this Court that on February 22, 2017 notices had been issued to respondents No. 7 and 8 under section 176 of the Income-Tax Ordinance, 2001 requiring them to substantiate their claimed status of Non-resident Pakistanis. The Court was also informed through the same application that the Immigration authorities had also been required by the Federal Board of Revenue to produce the travel record of the said respondents during the period between the years 2006 and 2016. It was assured through the said application that after receiving the necessary information from respondents No. 7 and 8 and the Immigration authorities the Federal Board of Revenue would take further necessary action in the matter. It is unfortunate that till passage of the final judgment of this case no further information has been received by this Court from the Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue regarding any progress made in the matter at his end.

 

57.       Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali, the learned Attorney-General for Pakistan stated at the outset that although he had represented respondent No. 1 and some members of his family in many cases in the past before different courts of the country as a private practitioner yet in the present case he was appearing as the Attorney-General for Pakistan on Court’s notice under Order XXVII-A Rule 1, CPC and, therefore, he would be assisting this Court in the present matter completely independently on some jurisdictional and legal aspects involved. He straightaway conceded that this Court has the requisite jurisdiction to entertain and hear these petitions and these petitions are maintainable under Article 184(3) of the Constitution but according to him the facts of the case do not warrant any interference in the matter by this Court through exercise of such jurisdiction. He pointed out that Constitution Petition No. 35 of 2016 filed before this Court seeking disqualification of one of the present petitioners from being a member of the Parliament on somewhat similar grounds was already pending before this Court and he was to assist this Court in that matter also in the same capacity. He submitted that the grey areas inherent in the constitutional disqualifications involved in the present petitions have already been commented upon by this Court in the case of Ishaq Khan Khakwani and others v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others (PLD 2015 SC 275). According to him the case in hand was a unique case wherein the forum chosen was this Court, the jurisdiction invoked was that under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and the main prayer made was in the nature of a writ of quo warranto. He argued that it was not the practice of this Court to entertain and proceed with such a case involving election to the Parliament under its original jurisdiction in the first instance and such issues were generally entertained by this Court in its appellate jurisdiction. He maintained that a declaration made by this Court is to be binding on all the other courts and tribunals in the country and, therefore, determination of a fact by this Court in exercise of its original jurisdiction may sparingly be resorted to because this Court may not be in the best position to record evidence, there is no appeal provided against a decision rendered in the said jurisdiction and the Fundamental Right under Article 10A of the Constitution may be jeopardized in such a process. He argued that in the context of the facts of this case it was to be seen by this Court as to which Fundamental Rights were involved or breached, who was complaining of breach of Fundamental Rights, which facts needed to be established first and what was the legal obligation of the respondents non-performance of which was detrimental to the petitioners? The learned Attorney-General went on to argue that in order to issue a writ in the nature of quo warranto this Court was to be guided by the provisions of Article 199(1)(b)(ii) of the Constitution regarding a High Court’s jurisdiction to issue a writ of quo warranto which can be issued only against a holder of a “public office” and, according to him, a Member of the National Assembly, which respondent No. 1 is, is not a holder of a “public office” in terms of the Constitution and the law. He, however, could not refer in this respect to any specific provision of the Constitution or the law or to any precedent of any court.

 

58.       The learned Attorney-General also submitted that from the language of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution it was not clear as to which court was to give the requisite declaration and, at any rate, no sufficient material was available before this Court in the present proceedings to give a declaration of that nature. Suggesting an alternate approach to the issues posed by the present petitions the learned Attorney-General submitted that under section 42-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 every member of the Parliament or a Provincial Assembly is required to submit yearly statements of assets and liabilities before the Election Commission of Pakistan and if such a statement is found to be false then it amounts to a corrupt practice under section 78(3)(d) punishable under section 82 of that Act and for such falsehood the concerned person is to be tried by a Court of Session under section 94 of that Act and if found guilty of such corrupt practice he stands disqualified under section 99(1A)(1) of the Act. According to him instead of entering into factual controversies while exercising jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution the matter might be left to the Election Commission of Pakistan to attend to. He maintained that in the light of the issues highlighted about a declaration about honesty in the cases of Ishaq Khan Khakwani and others v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others (PLD 2015 SC 275) and Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan v. Muhammad Ajmal (PLD 2010 SC 1066) such issues ought not to be decided by this Court in the first instance or as a first and the only resort and the civil or criminal issues involved in the matter ought to be established through a trial before a court of plenary jurisdiction or an election tribunal. According to him a declaration by a court or tribunal of plenary jurisdiction ought to precede a finding by this Court about honesty of a person. He submitted that inquisitorial proceedings had been conducted by this Court in the past in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution where public rights were involved or where issues raised could be resolved on the basis of admitted facts or official record as opposed to private records and in this respect he referred to the cases of Sh. Riaz-ul-Haq and another v. Federation of Pakistan through Ministry of Law and others (PLD 2013 SC 501), Imran Khan and others v. Election Commission of Pakistan and others (PLD 2013 SC 120), Lahore Bachao Tehrik v. Dr. Iqbal Muhammad Chauhan and others (2015 SCMR 1520), Muhammad Asghar Khan v. Mirza Aslam Baig, Former Chief of Army Staff (PLD 2013 SC 1), Workers’ Party Pakistan through Akhtar Hussain Advocate, General Secretary and 6 others v. Federation of Pakistan and 2 others (PLD 2012 SC 681), Suo Motu action regarding allegation of business deal between Malik Riaz Hussain and Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar attempting to influence the judicial process (PLD 2012 SC 664) and Watan Party and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 292). He also referred to the case of Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan v. Muhammad Ajmal (PLD 2010 SC 1066) to urge that intricate questions of fact requiring recording of evidence may not be resolved by this Court in its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

 

59.       Adverting to the matter of failure/refusal of the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau to challenge the judgment of the Lahore High Court, Lahore whereby Reference No. 5 of 2000 was quashed and reinvestigation of the matter was barred the learned Attorney-General submitted that the said matter did not attract filing of a statutory appeal before this Court and that the matter could have been brought before this Court by anybody, including the present petitioners, through filing of a civil petition for leave to appeal. He stated that if such a petition for leave to appeal is filed before this Court by any of the petitioners then the office of the Attorney-General would not question the locus standi of the petitioner in filing of such petition.

 

60.       The learned Attorney-General went on to maintain that the remedies under Article 63(2) and (3) of the Constitution were the exclusive remedies for seeking post-election disqualification of a member of the Parliament or a Provincial Assembly and he placed reliance in that regard upon the cases of Pir Sabir Shah v. Shad Muhammad Khan, Member Provincial Assembly, N.W.F.P and another (PLD 1995 SC 66) and Aftab Shaban Mirani v. President of Pakistan and others (1998 SCMR 1863).

 

61.       In respect of the alleged misstatement of facts by respondent No. 1 in his speeches the learned Attorney-General submitted that an omission in a statement does not necessarily constitute a misstatement and in this regard he relied upon the cases of Peek v. Gurney (1873) LR 6 HL 377, Hamilton and others v. Allied Domecq Plc (Scotland) (2007) UKHL 33, 2007 SC (HL) 142 and Shiromani Sugar Mills Ltd v. Debi Prasad (AIR 1950 All 508). According to him a misstatement on the floor of the National Assembly is property of that house to be dealt with in the manner prescribed by the parliamentary practices and the rules regarding privilege of the house.

 

62.       In his brief submissions in rebuttal Syed Naeem Bokhari, ASC for the petitioner in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 submitted that respondent No. 7 was born on May 01, 1972, respondent No. 6 was born on October 28, 1973 and respondent No. 8 was born on January 21, 1976 and, thus, respondent No. 7 was about two years old, respondent No. 6 was less than one year old and respondent No. 8 was not even born when the factory in Dubai was stated to have been set up by their grandfather Mian Muhammad Sharif in June 1974. He also highlighted that even at the time of sale of 75% shares of that factory in the year 1978 and at the time of sale of the remaining 25% shares of that factory in the year 1980 all the said respondents were minors. He maintained that the entire story stated before this Court by the children of respondent No. 1 was based firstly upon hearsay and secondly upon two statements of a gentleman from Qatar who himself had no personal knowledge of the matter and, therefore, that story was simply to be discarded by this Court. He went on to submit that respondent No. 1 did not mention any investment made by his father in Qatar at all in his speeches or in his concise statements submitted before this Court. Mr. Bokhari stated that it was unbelievable that respondent No. 1’s children knew about and remembered the investment made in Qatar despite their minority at the relevant time but respondent No. 1 did not! According to him that was a deliberate suppression of facts by respondent No. 1 clearly establishing that he was not an honest person. He added that with the collapse of the story about investment in Qatar the story about trusteeship of the relevant properties in London also crumbled to the ground exposing respondent No. 1 as the actual owner of those properties which ownership he had knowingly and purposely concealed and suppressed. In the end Mr. Bokhari submitted that respondent No. 1 had not been truthful to the nation, to the National Assembly and to this Court in the matter of explaining his assets which were nothing but ill-gotten, he had not been truthful in respect of the money fetched by the sale of the factory in Dubai, he had not been truthful regarding beneficial ownership of the properties in London and while suppressing his Qatari connection he had been anything but honest.

 

63.       Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed petitioner in Constitution Petition No. 30 of 2016 referred in his submissions in rebuttal to the case of Abdul Waheed Chaudhry v. Abdul Jabbar and others (decided by this Court on March 25, 2015) wherein the word ‘honest’ appearing in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution had been interpreted. On the issue of parliamentary privilege he referred to the cases of Syed Masroor Ahsan and others v. Ardeshir Cowasjee and others (PLD 1998 SC 823), Regina v. Chaytor (2011 UKSC 52), Canada (House of Commons) v. Vaid, (2005) 1 S.C.R. 667, Zahur Ilahi, M.N.A. v. Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (PLD 1975 SC 383), Miss Benazir Bhutto v. Federation of Pakistan and another (PLD 1988 SC 416), Ch. Nisar Ali Khan v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2013 SC 568), Muhammad Yasin v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Establishment Division, Islamabad and others (PLD 2012 SC 132) and Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Law and others (PLD 2012 SC 1054). He maintained that this Court had the jurisdiction to grant any relief even beyond the reliefs prayed for in a petition and in this respect he relied upon the cases of Pir Sabir Shah v. Shad Muhammad Khan, Member Provincial Assembly, N.W.F.P and another (PLD 1995 SC 66), Hitachi Limited and another v. Rupali Polyester and others (1998 SCMR 1618), Ch. Nisar Ali Khan v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2013 SC 568), Sindh High Court Bar Association through its Secretary v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, Islamabad (PLD 2009 SC 879) and Mst. Amina Begum and others v. Mehar Ghulam Dastgir (PLD 1978 SC 220). With reference to the case of Muhammad Siddiq  v. State (1977 SCMR 503) he maintained that when stolen property is recovered from the custody of a person then it is for that person to explain such possession and the court is to presume his guilt as a thief.

 

64.       Mr. Taufiq Asif, ASC for the petitioner in Constitution Petition No. 3 of 2017 submitted in rebuttal that the word ‘honest’ appearing in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution had been interpreted by this Court in the case of Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Law and others (PLD 2012 SC 1089) and it was held that an honest person ought not to be deceptive and he ought not to be given to cheating. In this context he also referred to the cases of Watan Party and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 292) and Allah Wasaya and 5 others  v. Irshad Ahmad and 4 others (1992 SCMR 2184).

 

65.       I have attended to each and every argument advanced, have perused the entire documentary material produced and have also gone through all the precedent cases cited before the Court besides brooding over the diverse aspects of this case from all possible angles. 

 

66.       The questions most hotly debated by the learned counsel for the parties during the hearing of these petitions have been as to what is the scope of the proceedings before this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and as to whether disputed or intricate questions of fact can be decided in such proceedings with or without recording of evidence or not. It was decided by this Court on November 03, 2016 with reference to some precedent cases that these petitions involved some serious questions of public importance with reference to enforcement of some Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part II of the Constitution and, therefore, the same were maintainable before this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. On that occasion none of the parties to these petitions raised any objection to competence and maintainability of these petitions and even during the hearing of these petitions no such objection has been raised at any stage of the protracted hearings. In his two concise statements submitted by respondent No. 1 maintainability of these petitions under Article 184(3) of the Constitution had not been contested and even the immunity available to a Prime Minister in some matters under Article 248 of the Constitution was not claimed.

 

67.       The jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution has so far been invoked and utilized on diverse issues of public importance with reference to enforcement of different Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The issues of qualifications or disqualifications of persons who are candidates for election to or are members of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or a Provincial Assembly have often cropped up before this Court in the context of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution which prescribe such qualifications and disqualifications and such issues have reached this Court either through the appellate jurisdiction of this Court under Article 185 of the Constitution or through its original jurisdiction under Article 184 of the Constitution. Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, as it stands today, deals with the qualifications and provides as under:

 

“62.        (1) A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless-

---------------------

(f)            he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law; and ---------------------”

 

It is true that on the issue of honesty of a candidate or a member a prior declaration by a court of law regarding lack of honesty is a prerequisite but in the cases initiated before an Election Tribunal a practice has developed that the same Tribunal first decides the issue of honesty on the basis of the evidence led before it and then while issuing a declaration regarding honesty or the lack of it simultaneously decides the matter of qualification or disqualification. The plethora of case-law referred to by the learned counsel for the parties in this regard may not be reproduced here because that is the practice in vogue without any contest. The same is also the practice in cases wherein the issue of qualification or disqualification is raised before a High Court in its constitutional jurisdiction through a writ of quo warranto and then the matter reaches this Court through its appellate jurisdiction. In all such cases some fact finding by a court or tribunal below is involved and this Court then adjudicates upon the matter on the basis of the evidence or material which is already on the record. The issue involved in the present petitions is that the matter of qualification or disqualification on the basis of honesty of respondent No. 1 or the lack of it has been raised before this Court directly and the learned counsel for the private respondents have maintained that while exercising its original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution this Court ought to be extremely reluctant to receive evidence or material on the issue of honesty in the first instance in the absence of a proper evidentiary hearing and then simultaneously to issue a declaration on that issue and proceed to disqualify a person, particularly when no remedy of appeal is available against such adjudication and the disqualification is permanent. They have maintained that the issue of honesty or otherwise of respondent No. 1 involves disputed and intricate questions of fact which cannot adequately or satisfactorily be answered in the original jurisdiction of this Court. The stance of the learned counsel for the private respondents in this regard can be attended to after appreciating as to why these petitions had been entertained by this Court in its original jurisdiction under Article 184(3), is there any other court of law available at this stage to issue the prayed for declaration in the context of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution regarding lack of honesty of respondent No. 1 and are there disputed or intricate questions of fact really involved in these petitions or not.

 

68.       According to Article 90(1) of the Constitution by virtue of his being the Prime Minister of the country respondent No. 1 is the Chief Executive of the Federation and it is practically he who appoints the heads of all the institutions in the country which could have inquired into or investigated the allegations leveled against respondent No. 1 and his family on the basis of the Panama Papers. Even the Speaker of the National Assembly who could refer the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan belongs to his political party and is his nominee. 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. A High Court could have entertained a writ petition in the nature of quo warranto so as to attend to the matter but it is agreed at all hands that the matter is of immense public importance and involves enforcement of some Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution and that is why all the parties before this Court agree that the present petitions filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution are competent and maintainable and also that the jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution is free from the trappings of Article 199 of the Constitution. It is also not disputed that the remedy of filing an Election Petition before an Election Tribunal under Article 225 of the Constitution is not available at this juncture. The Speaker of the National Assembly could have referred the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan under Article 63(2) of the Constitution but he has already dismissed various petitions filed before him in this regard by as many as twenty-two members of the National Assembly including one of the present petitioners. It is proverbial that there is no wrong without a remedy. It was in the above mentioned unfortunate background that this Court had entertained these petitions and now this Court cannot turn around and shy away from deciding the matter simply because it statedly involves some disputed or intricate questions of fact which, as shall be discussed shortly, it does not. Apart from that 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/Chief Executive of the Federation appoints his loyalists as heads of all the relevant institutions in the country which can inquire into or investigate the allegations of corruption, etc. against such Prime Minister/Chief Executive of the Federation then a brazen blocking of such inquiry or investigation by such loyalists would practically render the Prime Minister/Chief Executive of the Federation 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 is not for nothing that Article 187(1) of the Constitution has empowered this Court to do “complete justice” where all other avenues of seeking justice are either unavailable or blocked. Apart from that I refuse to accept the contention that the petitions in hand involve disputed and intricate questions of fact which we cannot attend to or adjudicate upon in the present proceedings under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. The ownership and possession of the relevant four properties in London are not denied by respondent No. 1’s family and the only question relevant to the issue before us is as to whether respondent No. 1’s denial of any connection with acquisition of those properties is honest or not. It ought not to be lost sight of that it is not the property in London which is in issue before this Court but what is at issue is respondent No. 1’s honesty for the purposes of a disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. Therefore, in order to attend to the said core issue I have decided to keep aside the material produced by the petitioners regarding the four properties in London and to take into consideration primarily the explanations offered and the material supplied by respondent No. 1 and his children in order to see whether their explanations vis-à-vis acquisition of the said properties are on the face of it honest or not. This approach adopted by me leaves me with no disputed or intricate questions of fact on the issue and focuses solely on the issue of honesty of respondent No. 1 with reference to the explanations advanced by him and his family only. Respondent No. 1 and his family cannot claim that their explanations offered on the issue are themselves disputed or intricate and this Court cannot even look at them!

 

69.       Apart from what has been observed above in the case of Lt.-Col. Farzand Ali and others v. Province of West Pakistan through the Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of West Pakistan, Lahore (PLD 1970 SC 98) this Court had clarified that where the question is of a right to continue in public office the matter is of public interest and in the absence of any other adequate remedy this Court can interfere through proceedings not exactly as quo warranto but in the nature of quo warranto with a wider scope. In the present case respondent No. 1 is not just a serving member of the National Assembly but also the Prime Minister of the country and, thus, public interest in his right to continue in office is immense. In the case of Muhammad Azhar Siddiqui and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 774) Prime Minster Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani was declared by this Court itself to be disqualified through proceedings conducted under Article 184(3) of the Constitution after his conviction had been recorded for committing contempt of court. In the case of Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Law and others (PLD 2012 SC 1089) numerous members of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) had been declared by this Court to be disqualified on the basis of their being holders of dual nationality and were shown the door through direct exercise of this Court’s jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and on that occasion some factual inquiry had also been conducted by this Court. It had clearly been held in that case that this Court had the jurisdiction to satisfy itself on a question of fact touching a disqualification notwithstanding any admission made by a party or not. It is settled by now that the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution is inquisitorial in nature rather than adversarial and while exercising such jurisdiction this Court can ascertain, collect and determine facts where needed or found necessary. In the case of Pakistan Muslim League (N) through Khawaja Muhammad Asif, M.N.A. and others v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Ministry of Interior and others (PLD 2007 SC 642) it was observed by this Court that there was a “judicial consensus” on the scope of proceedings under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and that even disputed questions of fact could be looked into where a Fundamental Right had been breached provided there was no voluminous evidence to be assessed and no intricate disputed questions of fact were involved. In the case of Air Marshal (Retd.) Muhammad Asghar Khan v. General (Retd.) Mirza Aslam Baig, Former Chief of Army Staff and others (PLD 2013 SC 1) some evidence was in fact recorded by this Court while hearing a petition filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. Even in the case of General Secretary, West Pakistan Salt Miners Labour Union (CBA) Khewra, Jhelum v. The Director, Industries and Mineral Development, Punjab, Lahore (1994 SCMR 2061) this Court had clearly held that an exercise of finding facts can be resorted to in proceedings under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. It is also a fact that while proceeding under Article 184(3) of the Constitution this Court had in many a case constituted Commissions tasked to inquire into some facts by recording evidence and to determine questions of fact on behalf of the Court and a reference in this respect may be made to the cases of Ms. Shehla Zia and others v. WAPDA (PLD 1994 SC 693), Watan Party and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 292) and Suo Motu case No. 16 of 2016 (Quetta lawyers’ carnage case).

 

70.       It was also argued before us that on September 02, 2016 a petition filed by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed petitioner before the Speaker of the National Assembly for referring the matter of disqualification of respondent No. 1 to the Election Commission of Pakistan under Article 63(2) of the Constitution was dismissed whereafter the said petitioner had challenged that order of the Speaker before the Lahore High Court, Lahore through Writ Petition No. 31193 of 2016 which is still pending before that Court and, therefore, the present petitions filed on the same subject before this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution are not maintainable or they may not be adjudicated upon for the time being. This argument, however, overlooks the law declared by this Court in the cases of Miss Benazir Bhutto v. Federation of Pakistan and another (PLD 1988 SC 416), Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif v. President of Pakistan and others (PLD 1993 SC 473), Suo Motu Case No. 10 of 2009 (2010 SCMR 885), Shahid Orakzai v. Pakistan through Secretary Law, Ministry of Law, Islamabad (PLD 2011 SC 365), Muhammad Yasin v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Establishment Division, Islamabad and others (PLD 2012 SC 132), Khawaja Muhammad Asif v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2014 SC 206) and Jamshoro Joint Venture Ltd. and others v. Khawaja Muhammad Asif and others (2014 SCMR 1858) wherein it had clearly been laid down that the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution is an independent and original jurisdiction which is not affected by pendency of any matter on the same subject before any other court or forum or even by a prior decision of the same issue by any other court or forum below.

 

71.       It was also contended by the learned counsel for the private respondents that in exercise of this Court’s jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution ordinarily no evidence is recorded, no right of cross-examination of witnesses is available and no right of appeal exists against the decision rendered and, therefore, it can be argued that rendering a finding of fact in exercise of such jurisdiction may militate against the Fundamental Right guaranteed by Article 10A of the Constitution regarding fair trial and due process. Article 10A of the Constitution provides as follows:

 

“10A.     For the determination of his civil rights and obligations or in any criminal charge against him a person shall be entitled to a fair trial and due process.”

 

There is hardly any “determination” of civil rights of the private respondents involved in the present proceedings and no “trial” of the said respondents on any “criminal charge” is being conducted in these proceedings and, therefore, the said contention has failed to impress us. The case in hand is akin to the cases of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and another v. President of Pakistan and others (PLD 1998 SC 388) clarified in Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto v. President of Pakistan and 2 others (PLD 2000 SC 77) and Air Marshal (Retd.) Muhammad Asghar Khan v. General (Retd.) Mirza Aslam Baig, Former Chief of Army Staff and others (PLD 2013 SC 1) wherein the constitutional aspects of the cases were decided by this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution whereas the criminal aspects of the matters were left to be attended to by the appropriate investigation agencies or criminal courts.

 

72.       The learned Attorney-General’s objection that a member of the National Assembly does not hold a “public office” and, therefore, a Constitution Petition in the nature of quo warranto is not maintainable against him either before a High Court under Article 199(1)(b)(ii) or before this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution has also failed to find favour with me as it has already been held by this Court in the case of Salahuddin and 2 others v. Frontier Sugar Mills and Distillery Ltd., Tokht Bhai and 10 others (PLD 1975 SC 244) that the words “public office” are much wider than the words “service of Pakistan” and they include those who perform legislative function. A similar view was also taken by this Court in the case of Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Law and others (PLD 2012 SC 1089). Apart from that a “holder of a public office” can be proceeded against for an offence of corruption and corrupt practices under section 9 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 and scores of members of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or of the Provincial Assemblies, including some Federal and Provincial Ministers, have already been successfully tried for that offence by the National Accountability Bureau and in none of such cases it was ever argued before or held by any court that a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or of a Provincial Assembly does not hold a “public office”.

 

73.       The precedent cases cited before us by the learned counsel for the parties bear an ample testimony to the fact that the scope and practice regarding exercise of jurisdiction by this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution is still evolving and that no specific procedure for exercise of that jurisdiction has so far been laid down by this Court. The cases dealt with by this Court under that jurisdiction thus far have varied vastly in their subject and content and, therefore, this Court has consciously avoided to shut the door to any procedural modality which may be best suited to an effective and proper determination of an issue competently brought to this Court under that jurisdiction. It is for that reason that no hard and fast rule has so far been laid down by this Court regarding the mode, mechanism or modality through which the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution may be exercised and it has been left to the Court to decide as to which lawful procedure would suit the requirements of a given case best. It is the nature of the issue and the circumstances of the case which are to determine the procedure to be adopted. It may be pertinent to mention here that even interpretation of the words like “honest” and “ameen” used in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution is still not definite and precise and how to apply those words and provisions to the facts of a given case is also a question which has no certain answer as yet and that uncertainty gives this Court a lot of flexibility in the matter of interpretation and application besides keeping all possibilities of procedure to be adopted wide open. As far as the present petitions are concerned I have already mentioned above the circumstances in which this Court had entertained the same. It is not the normal function of this Court to enter into questions of fact in the first instance but where a question of immense public importance with reference to enforcement of Fundamental Rights is involved and all the statutory and constitutional institutions or authorities that could deal with the matter have failed/refused to perform their statutory or constitutional duties in that regard there even questions of fact may be looked into by this Court in the interest of doing “complete justice”. As already observed above, while attending to the questions of fact involved in the present petitions I have decided not to enter into disputed or intricate questions of fact and to confine my attention primarily to the facts asserted, explanations offered or the material placed on the record by respondent No. 1 and his family. It would surely be unreasonable on the part of respondent No. 1 and his family to maintain or contend that the facts asserted by them, the explanations offered by them or the material placed on the record by them are themselves disputed or intricate and, therefore, this Court ought not to attend to them!

 

74.       At every step of the hearing of these petitions we had afforded ample opportunities to all the parties to bring any material on the record in support of their case. The petitioners have relied upon two speeches made by respondent No. 1 addressing the nation on radio and television and a speech made by him on the floor of the National Assembly explaining how funds had become available for acquiring the four properties in London and according to the petitioners the explanations advanced were evasive, contradictory, unproved and untrue. The petitioners have also placed on the record extracts of different interviews given by the wife and children of respondent No. 1 and some others close to the respondents wherein totally divergent stands had been taken regarding possession and ownership of the said properties. The petitioners have further relied upon some documents in order to establish that all the explanations advanced by respondent No. 1 and his children in respect of generation and availability of funds for acquisition of the relevant properties were factually incorrect and that the respondents’ stand that respondent No. 1’s son namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif became the beneficial owner of the relevant properties in London in the year 2006 was factually incorrect because respondent No. 1’s daughter namely Mariam Safdar was the actual beneficial owner of those properties since before the year 2006. It has also been maintained by the petitioners that the trust deed showing Mariam Safdar as a trustee of the said properties on behalf of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif since the year 2006 was an unregistered document which was nothing but sham. As against that respondent No. 1 and his children have placed on the record some documents showing sale of a business concern in Dubai, some tax returns and some documents establishing as to how Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif, a son of respondent No. 1, had become the beneficial owner of the relevant properties in the year 2006. The children of respondent No. 1 have also brought on the record two statements made by one Mr. Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani of Qatar and some other supporting statements and documents claiming that Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif had become the owner of the above mentioned two offshore companies and the relevant properties in London in the year 2006 as a result of a settlement of accounts between Al-Thani family of Qatar and Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif in respect of an investment made by the said respondent’s grandfather namely Mian Muhammad Sharif in the real estate business of Al-Thani family in Qatar. All the above mentioned documents and material as well as the contentions and submissions of the learned counsel for the parties have been attended to and scrutinized by me with the necessary care that they deserved.

 

75.       It may be advantageous to start the discussion about the relevant properties in London with the initial explanations volunteered by respondent No. 1. The Panama Papers came to surface through the print and electronic media on April 04, 2016. On April 05, 2016 respondent No. 1 addressed the nation on radio and television and he stated as follows:

 

وزیراعظم نوازشریف کا قوم سے خطاب

5اپریل2016ء

                عزیزاہل وطن!السلام علیکم ،میں اپنی پوری سیا سی زندگی میں آج پہلی بار ذاتی حوالے سے کچھ کہنے کیلئے آپ کی خدمت میں حا ظر ہوا ہوں۔ مجھے ان گزارشات کی ضرورت اس لیے محسوس ہوئی کہ ایک بار پھر کچھ لوگ اپنے سیاسی مقاصد کیلئےمجھےاور میرےخاندان کو نشانہ بنا رہے ہیں۔25 سا لوں سے بار بار دہرائے جانےوالے الزامات کو ایک بار پھر میڈیا پر اچھالا جا رہا ہے۔میں چند بنیادی حقائق آپ کے سامنے پیش کرنا چا ہتا ہوں تا کہ آپ خود اندازہ لگا سکیں کہ ان الزامات کی حقیقت کیا ہے۔ قیام پاکستان سے کہیں سال قبل میرے والد صاحب نے لاہور سے کاروبار کا آغاز کیا اور اتفا ق فاوُنڈری کی بنیاد ڈالی۔ قیام پاکستان تک یہ ایک ماشا اللہ مستحکم اور مظبوط صنعتی ادارہ بن چکا تھا۔اس کی ایک شاخ ڈھاکہ میں یعنی مشرقی پاکستان میں بھی قائم ہو چکی تھی۔ یہ صنعتی ادارہ ہزاروں خاندانوں کو روزگار کی فراہمی کا ذریعہ بن چکا تھا اور قومی خزانے میں ٹیکسوں کی صورت اپنا حصہ ڈال رہا تھا۔16 دسمبر1971ءکو مشرقی پاکستان میں قائم اتفاق فاوُنڈریز سقوط ڈھاکہ کی نذر ہو گئ۔ اس کے ٹھیک 15 دن بعد 2 جنوری1972ءکو ذوالفقار علی بھٹوکی حکومت نے لاہورمیں جوہماری اتفاق فاوُنڈریزتھی اس پربھی قبضہ کرلیااوریہ اس وقت مغربی پاکستان میں سٹیل اورمشینری اور انجینئرنگ کی سب سے بڑی صنعت بن چکی تھی۔یوں1936ءسے ہمارے بزرگوں کی محنت،سرمایہ کاری اورجمع پونجی ایک لمحےمیں ختم کردی گئ۔یہ ظلم اور زیادتی ہمارےوالدمرحوم کےعزم اور حوصلے میں کوئی کمزوری پیدا نہیں کر سکتی، الحمد اللہ کوئی لمحہ ضائع کئے بغیر انہوں نے اللہ کا نام لےکرایک بار پھر کمر باندھی اور بھٹو دور میں ہی 18 ماہ کے اندر اندر 6 نئی فیکٹریاں قائم کر لیں۔یہ وطن کی مٹی سے محبت،لگن،عزم اور ہمت کی ایسی روشن داستان ہے جس کی مثال کم ہی ملے گی۔ اتفاق فاوُنڈریز جولائی1979ءمیں ہمیں کھنڈرات کی شکل میں واپس ملی۔ہمارے والد نے تباہ شدہ مالی حالت والے اس اجڑے ہوئے ڈھانچے کو دوبارہ ایک جاندار صنعتی ادارے کی شکل دی۔ انتہائی مشکل اورناسازگار حالت میں عزم وہمت کی اس داستان کا تعلق اس دور سےہےمیرے ہم وطنو، جب میں یونیورسٹی کی تعلیم سے نیا نیا فارغ ہوا تھا۔ اور میرا یا میرے خاندان کے کسی فرد کاسیاست یا حکومت سے دور کا بھی تعلق نہیں تھا۔ اس عرصے کے دوران یہ ادارے ملک کی معا شی ترقی میں ایک توانا کردار ادا کرتے ہوئے ملکی خزانے میں کروڑوں کے ٹیکس اور محصولات جمع کراتے رہے اس زمانےمیں۔خواتین و حضرات جب ہم سیاست سے کوسوں دور تھے تو بھی آزما ئش سے گزرنا پڑا اور سیاست میں آنےکےبعدبھی ہم سیاسی اور ذاتی انتقام کا نشانہ بنتے رہے۔آپ میں سے بہت سےخواتین وحضرات کو یاد ہو گا کہ1989ء میں ہماری فیکٹری کا خام مال لانے والے بحری جہاز جس کا نام(جوناتھن) تھا۔ اس کو ایک سال تک سامان اتارنے کی اجازت نہیں دی گئی۔ اس اکیلے جھٹکے سے ہمیں 50 کروڑ روپےکا نقصان برداشت کرنا پڑا۔ 1989ء کی بات کر رہا ہوں۔ اس وقت کا 50 کروڑ آج کے شاید 50 ارب روپےسے بھی زیادہ ہو گا۔پیپلز پارٹی کے دوسرے دور میں بھی ہمارے کاروبار کی معاشی ناکہ بندی کی گئی اور مختلف ہتھکنڈوں کے ذریعےاتفاق فاوُنڈریز کی چمنیاں ٹھنڈی کر دی گئی اور پھر 1999ء کا دور آیا۔ جمہوری حکومت کا تختہ الٹنے کے بعد جو کچھ ہوا اس سے آپ سب اچھی طرح واقف ہیں۔ 14 ماہ تک ہمیں جیلوں میں ڈالے رکھا گیا ہمارے کاروبار کو ایک بار پھر مکمل طور پر تباہ کر دیا گیا۔ یہاں تک کہ ماڈل ٹاوُن میں ہم سے ہمارا آبائی گھربھی چھین لیا۔ جہاںہم، ہمارے والدین اور ہمارے بچے رہتے تھے اور ہمیں ملک بدر کر دیا گیا آپ کی آنکھوں کے سامنے یہ سب کچھ ہوا۔ ساری حکومتی مشینری کو ہمارے کاروبار، بینک کھاتوں، صنعتی یونٹس اور دیگر معاملات کے بے رحمانہ احتساب پر لگا دیا گیا۔ یہ کہنا بے جا نہ ہوگا کہ سا لہا سال تک ہم اس یکطرفہ احتساب کی پل صراط پر چلتےرہیں۔لیکن اللہ کے فضل وکرم سے ہمارے قدم نہ ڈگمائے کبھی بھی نہیں، الحمداللہ ہم قانون اور انصاف کے ہر معتبر فورم سے سرخرو ہو کر گزرے۔ کسی بھی عدالت میں ہما رے خلاف کوئی الزام ثابت نہ کیا جا سکا۔ جبری جلا وطنی کے ایام میں ہمارے والد محترم نے ایک بار پھر مکہ معظمہ کے قریب سٹیل کا ایک کارخانہ لگایا۔ اور یاد رکھیں کہ ہمیں وہاں ملک سے باہر 7 سال رہنا پڑا۔یہ کارخانہ لگایا جس کیلئے سعودی بینکوں سے قرض حاصل کیا گیا اور پھرچند برس بعد یہ فیکٹری تمام اثاثوں سمیت فروخت کر دی گئی۔ اور یہ وسائل میرے بیٹوں حسن نواز اور حسین نواز نے اپنے نئے کاروبار کیلئے استعمال کیے۔ میں یہاں یہ بھی بتا دوں کہ حسن نواز 1994ء سے لندن میں مقیم ہے۔ جبکہ حسین نواز 2000ء سے سعودی عرب میں رہائش پذیر ہے۔ دونوں  ان ممالک کے قوانین اور قواعد و ضوبط کے مطابق اپنا کاروبار کرتے ہیں۔ عجیب منطق ہے میرے ہم وطنو، کہ ہمارے بچے ملک کے اندر رزق کمائیں تو بھی تنقید اور اگر بیرون ملک محنت کرکے اپنا کاروبار قائم کریں اور اس کو چلائیں تو بھی الزامات کی زد میں رہتے ہیں۔ میں صرف اتنا کہوں گا کہ کرپشن یا ناجائز ذرائع سے دولت جمع کرنے والے نہ تو اپنے نام پر کمپنیاں رکھتے ہیں اورنہ  اپنے اثاثےاپنے نام پر رکھتے ہیں۔ میرے عزیز اہل وطنو، میں آپ کے علم میں لانا چاہتا ہوں کہ مختلف ادوار میں اتفاق فاوُنڈریز کی مکمل تباہی کیلئے باربار کے حملوں کے باوجود میرے خاندان کے واجب الادا قرضوں کی ایک ایک پائی ادا کی جس کی مالیت تقر یباً پونے 6ارب روپے بنتی ہے۔ ہمارے خاندان نےاصل زرکا ایک پیسہ بھی کبھی معاف نہیں کرایا۔ یہ کہنا غلط نہ ہوگاکہ ہم نے تو وہ قرض بھی اتارے ہیں جو ہم پر واجب بھی نہیں تھے اور اس سارے پس منظر کے باوجود ہمیں جیلوں میں ڈالا گیا، ملک سے باہر بھیجا گیا اور ہمارے کاروبار کو بالکل روک دیا گیا، فیکٹریوں کو تالے لگا دئے گئے اور گھر لے لئے گئےاس کے باوجود کسی بینک سے ایک پائی کے بھی ہم ڈیفالٹ نہیں ہیں۔ مجھے امید ہے میرے ہم وطنو، کہ ہمارے کاروبار کا یہ سارا پس منظر اب آپ پر واضح ہو چکا ہو گا۔ میں نے اس سفر کے تمام اہم مراحل سے آپ کو آگاہ کر دیا ہے۔ صرف اتنا  مزیدکہوں گا کہ حکومت سےباہر یا حکومت کے اندر ہوتے ہوئے میں نے یا میرے خاندان کے کسی فرد نے قومی امانت میں رتی بھر خیانت نہیں کی۔ اور کبھی اقتدار کو کاروبار سے منسلک نہیں کیا۔ خواتین وحضرات میں بہت کچھ کہنا چاہتا تھا لیکن انتہائی مختصر طور پر کچھ گزارشات پیش کی ہیں۔ میں نے وطن عزیز کو اندھیروں سے پاک کرنے اور تعمیروترقی کی نئی بلندیوں کی طرف لے جانے کا عہد کر رکھاہے۔ میری تمام تر توجہ اس عہد پر مرکوز ہے۔میرے پاس اتنا وقت نہیں کہ ہر روز الزامات کی یلغار کرنے والوں کو جواب دوں اور وضاحتیں پیش کروں۔ میں الزامات کی تازہ لہر کے مقاصد خوب سمجھتا ہوں لیکن اپنی توانائیاں اس کی ندر نہیں کرنا چاہتا۔ میرے بعض رفقاء کا مشورہ تھا کہ چونکہ میری ذات پر کوئی الزام نہیں ہےاور یہ کہ میرے دونوں بیٹےبالغ اور اپنے معاملات کے خود نگہبان ہیں اس لیے مجھے اس معاملے سے الگ رہنا چاہیے۔ بعض رفقاء کا خیال تھا کہ میرے خطاب سے اس معاملے کو غیر ضروری اہمیت حاصل ہو جائے گی، کچھ رفقاء کا کہنا تھا کہ میری ذات یا میرے خاندان کے کسی فرد پر کسی غیر قانونی یا ناجائز کام کا کوئی الزام نہیں لگا اس لیے مجھے اس معاملے میں پڑنے کی ضرورت نہیں۔ لیکن میرے  عزیز اہل وطن، میں چاہتا ہوں کہ اصل حقا ئق پوری طرح قوم کے سامنے آ جائیں۔ اور ہر پاکستانی الزامات کی اصل حقیقت سے آگاہ ہو جائے۔ عزیز اہل وطن، آج میں نے ایک اعلٰی سطحی عدالتی کمیشن قائم کرنے کا فیصلہ کیا ہے۔ سپریم کورٹ کےایک ریٹائرڈ جج اس کمیشن کے سربراہ ہوں گے۔ یہ کمیشن اپنی تحقیقات کے بعد فیصلہ دے گا کہ اصل حقیقت کیا ہے اور الزامات میں کتنا وزن ہے۔ میں گھسے پٹے الزامات دہرانے اور روز تماشہ لگانے والوںسے کہتا ہوں کہ وہ اس کمیشن کے سامنے جائیں اوراپنے الزامات ثابت کریں۔اللہ تعالٰی آپ کا حامی و ناصر ہو۔ پاکستان پائندہ باد۔

 

The gist of the explanations offered by respondent No. 1 in that speech is reproduced below:

 

* My father had started his business by establishing Ittefaq Foundries in Lahore in the year 1936 prior to the creation of Pakistan.

* In the year 1972 Ittefaq Foundries was nationalized obliterating and wiping out the hard work, investment and savings of our elders.

* In the next 18 months my father established 6 new factories.

* In July 1979 Ittefaq Foundries was returned to us in the shape of ruins but my father again turned it into a functional and vibrant industrial unit.

* In the second tenure of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s rule an economic blockade led to Ittefaq Foundries becoming dysfunctional.

* In the year 1999 my government was toppled, we were imprisoned for 14 months and our business was completely destroyed. We were then thrown out of the country.

* During our forced exile my father established a steel factory near Makkah in Saudi Arabia for which loan was obtained from Saudi banks.

* The steel factory near Makkah was sold after a few years along with all its assets. Those resources were utilized by my sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz for setting up their business.

* I hope that the entire background of our business is now clear to my fellow countrymen as I have informed you about all the important stages of our journey.

* As we have not committed any illegality at any stage, therefore, I have decided to address you so that the true facts are fully brought to the knowledge of my dear countrymen.

 

It has pertinently been observed by me that in the above mentioned speech made by respondent No. 1 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. 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.

 

76.       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.

 

77.       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:

 

وزیراعظم نوازشریف کا قومی اسمبلی میں خطاب

16 مئی 2016ء

                جناب اسپیکر! میں آپ کی اجازت اور آپ کی وساطت سے کچھ معروضات معزز اراکان ایوان کی خدمات میں پیش کرنا چاہتا ہوں۔ جناب اسپیکر!جیسا کہ آپ جانتے ہیں اپریل کے پہلے ہفتے میں ایک رپورٹ میڈیا میں آئی جسے پاناما پیپرز کا نام دیا گیا۔ اس رپورٹ میں پاناما  میں قائم ایسی آف شور کمپنیوں کی نشاندہی کی گئی جن سے پا کستانی شہریوں اور پاکستان سے تعلق رکھنے والے سمندر پار پاکستانیوں کا تعلق بتایا گیا۔ اس رپورٹ میں یہ واضح کر دیا گیا کہ آف شور کمپنیوں سے تعلق کا مطلب یہ ہر گز نہیں کہ کوئی شخص بد عنوانی کا مر تکب ہوا ہو۔اس رپورٹ میں میرے دو بیٹوں کا ذکر بھی آیا جو گزشتہ کئی سالوں سے بیرون ملک مقیم ہیں اور لاکھوں دیگر پاکستانیوں کی طرح وہاں کے قوانین اور ضابطوں کے تحت اپنا کاروبار کر رہے ہیں۔ جناب اسپیکر!میرے رفقاء کی یہ رائے تھی کیونکہ پاناما پیپرز میں میرا کوئی ذکر نہیں اس لئےمجھےپہل کرنے اور خود احتساب کیلئے پیش کر دینے کی ضرورت نہیں۔میرا اپنا ردعمل یہ تھا کہ اگرچہ میری ذات کا  ان پیپرز سے کوئی تعلق نہیں لیکن چونکہ میرے خاندان کا ذکر آیا ہے اس لئے مجھےیہ معاملہ ایک با اختیار اور خودمختار کمیشن کے سپرد کر دینا چا ہیےجو سارے معاملے کی چھان بین کرے اور حقائق سامنے لائے۔ میں نے اپوزیشن کے کسی مطالبے سے بھی پہلے قوم سے خطاب کیا اور سپریم کورٹ کے ریٹائرڈ جج صاحب کی سربراہی میں ایک کمیشن کے قیام کا اعلان کر دیا۔ میں اس بات پر جناب اسپیکرپختہ یقین رکھتا ہوں کہ اپنی زندگیاں انصاف کے اعلٰی ترین ایوانوں میں گزارنے والے جج صاحبان ریٹائرڈ ہونے کے بعد بھی امانت اور دیانت کے ساتھ منصفانہ، غیر جانبدارانہ اور بے لاگ انصاف کے تقاضے پورے کر سکتے ہیں۔ مجھے افسوس ہوا کہ میرے اس مخلصانہ اقدام پر مثبت رد عمل کے بجائے جج صاحبان کو نشانہ بناتے ہوئے ایسا ماحول پیدا کر دیا گیا کہ نہایت اچھی شہرت کے حامل چیف جسٹس صاحبان کیلئے بھی کمیشن کی سربراہی قبول کرنا مشکل ہو گیا۔پھر اپوزیشن کی طرف سے پارلیمنٹ کے ارکان پر مشتمل ایک کمیٹی قائم کرنے کی تجویزسامنے آئی۔ حکومت نے اس تجویزپر بھی مثبت ردعمل کا اظہار کیالیکن ہمارے رابطے کےباوجود کمیٹی کے قیام پر کوئی پیشرفت نہ ہو سکی۔ پھر کہا گیا کہ ایف آئی اے سے تحقیقات کرائی جائے، اس مطالبے کو تسلیم کرتے ہوئے ہم نے اپوزیشن سے کہا کہ وہ اپنے اعتماد کے افسران کو نامزد کریں۔ اس پیش کش کوبھی نظر  انداز کر دیا گیا پھر واحد مطالبہ  یہ آیا کہ صرف چیف جسٹس کے جج صاحبان پر مشتمل کمیشن کو ہی قبول کیا جائے گا جس کی سربراہی جناب چیف جسٹس خود  کریں۔ میں نے 22 اپریل کو قوم سے خطاب کے دوران یہ مطالبہ بھی تسلیم کرنے کا اعلان کر دیا۔ جناب سپیکر مجھے یقین تھا کہ اپنا واحد مطالبہ تسلیم کر لینے کے بعد اپوزیشن مطمئن ہو جائے گی اور تحقیقات کا انتظار کرے گی۔ لیکن ہوا یہ کہ اس کےبعد ٹی او آرز کو بھی متنازعہ بنا دیا گیا۔ ہماری 3 جامع ٹی او آرز کے جواب میں 15 ٹی او آرز پیش کر دی گئیں۔ میڈیا ان کا جا ئزہ لے چکا  ہے اور آئینی و قانونی ما ہرین اپنی رائے دے چکے ہیں۔ اس پر شاید ہی سنجیدہ پاکستانی کو یہ شک ہو کہ اپوزیشن کے ٹی او آرزکسی بد عنوانی اور کرپشن کے بجائے صرف اور صرف ایک ہی فرد کے گرد گھومتی ہیں۔ اور وہ فرد میں ہو۔ اور اس کی مزید تشریح کرتے ہوئے کہا گیا کہ اس کے معنی وزیراعظم ہوں گے اور پھر یہ بھی کہہ دیا گیا ہے کہ جہاں جہاں وزیراعظم کا لفظ آ ئے گا اس کے معنی صرف نوازشریف لیے جائیں گے۔ ان ٹی او آرز کا سب سے دلچسپ پہلو یہ ہے کہ جس شخص کا ہزاروں، لاکھوں صفحات پر مشتمل پاناما پیپرز میں ذکر تک نہیں۔ اس پر کمیشن کے قیام اور تحقیقات کے آغاز سے پہلے ہی با ضابطہ فرد جرم عائد کر دی گئی ہے۔ جناب اسپیکر! میں اس ایوان کو یقین دلاتا ہوں کہ حکومت معاملے کی بلا تاخیر فوری اور جامع تحقیقات چاہتی ہے۔ ہم نہیں چاہتے کہ ایک بار پھر ملک کسی کشمکش کا یر غمال ہو جائے اور ایک بار پھر ہم دنیا کے سامنے تماشہ بن جائیں۔ایسے معاملات میں غیر ضروری تحقیقات ہر گز ملک و قوم کے مفاد میں نہیں ہوتی۔ ہم اپنی توجہ ملک کی تعمیرو ترقی پر مرکوز رکھنے کیلئے نیک نیتی کے ساتھ معاملے کی بے لاگ چھان بین چاہتے ہیں۔ میرے وزراء مسلسل کہتے رہے اور میں بھی پورے دل کے ساتھ کہہ رہا ہوں کہ ہم کسی مسئلے کو انا کا مسئلہ نہیں بنانا چاہتے۔ ہم صرف پاکستان کی انا کا پرچم بلند رکھنا چاہتے ہیں۔ اللہ کے فضل سے ہمارا دامن صاف ہے۔ ہمیں کسی آئینی یا قانونی استثنی کی ضرورت نہیں۔ ہم ماضی میں کئی کئی بار نہایت کڑے، یکطرفہ اور انتقامی احتساب سے گزرے ہیں اور آج بھی کسی بھی احتسابی عمل کا سامنا کرنے کیلئے تیار ہیں۔ اور ہم جناب اسپیکر یہ بھی چاہتے ہیں کہ بدعنوانی، اختیارات سے نا جائز فائدہ اٹھانے، ٹیکس چوری کرنے، کک بیکس لینے، پیسہ غیر قانونی طور پر پاکستان سے باہر بھیجنے اور سیاسی اثرورسوخ سے اربوں روپے کے قرضے معاف کرانے والوں کی اصل کہانی بھی عوام کے سامنے آ جائے۔ اگر ایک میڈیا رپورٹ کو کسی تحقیق کے بغیر محض سیاسی عداوت، شک اور بد گمانی کی بیناد پر بد عنوانی اور جرم قرار دیا گیا ہے تو ان دستاویزاور مستند رپورٹس کو کیوں نہ دیکھا جائے جن میں ٹھوس ثبوتوں کے انبار ہیں۔ جناب اسپیکر! میں آپ کی اجازت سے ایوان کی توجہ ایک نہایت ہی اہم بات کی جانب مبذول کروانا چاہتا ہوں۔ میری گزارش ہے کہ یہ ایوان احتساب کے ایک جامع، موثر اور بے لاگ نظام پر غور کرے۔  ایسے نظام احتساب کی تشکیل اس میثاق جمہوریت کی ایک اہم شک ہے۔ جس پر آج سے کوئی دس  سال قبل میں نے اور محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو نے دستخط کیے تھے اور جس کی توثیق دیگر تمام قومی جماعتوں نے بھی کی تھی۔ میں جناب اسپیکر گزارش کرتا ہوں  کہ اس ایوان میں ایسی مشاورت کا اہتمام کریں جو مروجہ نظام احتساب کی کمزوریوں پر نظر رکھتے ہوئے ایک ایسا جامع نظام وضع کرے جس پر پوری قوم کو اعتماد ہو اور جو وطن عزیز میں پگڑی اچھالنے، الزامات لگانے اور بہتان تراشی کے کلچر کو ہمیشہ کیلئے ختم کر دے۔  کسی تحقیق کے بغیر بے بنیاد الزامات لگانے سے سیاستدان ہی بے اعتبار نہیں ہوتے، سیاست بھی بے وقار ہو جاتی ہے اور پھر سیاست بے وقار ہو جائے تو جمہوریت بھی بے توقیر ہو جا تی ہے۔ جناب اسپیکر  ایک مطالبہ یہ بھی سامنے آیا کہ میں پارلیمنٹ میں آ کر حقائق پیش کروں تو جناب اسپیکر یہ معاملہ اب یوں ختم نہیں ہو سکتا۔ اور نہ ہی اسے ایسا ہونا چاہیے، بات چل ہی نکلی ہے تو دودھ کا دودھ اور پانی کا پانی ضرور ہو نا چاہئے۔ قوم کو اصل حقائق کا پتا چلنا چاہیے۔ جناب اسپیکر میرے دل میں پارلیمنٹ کی بہت عزت ہے۔ یہ ایوان 20 کروڑ اہل وطن کی نمائندگی کرتا ہے۔ یہ ایوان آئین کی بالادستی، قانون کی حکمرانی اور جمہوریت کے استحکام کی تابندہ علامت ہے۔ تقریباًدو سال قبل شاہراہ دستور پر دیئے گئے دھرنوں کے دوران اس ایوان کا کردار ہماری جمہوری تاریخ کا سنہری باب ہے۔ اس ایوان کا نمائندہ ہونا میرے لیے بھی اعزاز کا باعث ہے۔ میں اس مقدس ایوان کو بتانا چاہتا ہوں کہ میرے پاس چھپانے کو نہ پہلےکچھ تھا اور نہ آج ہے۔ سب کچھ کھلی کتاب کی طرح ہے۔ میرا خاندان پاکستان کا واحد خاندان ہے جس نے سیاست سے کچھ بنایا یا کمایا تو نہیں البتہ گنوایا ضرور ہے۔ میں کاروبار سے سیاست میں داخل ہوا۔ سیاست سے کاروبار میں نہیں آیا۔ جناب اسپیکر! میں ایسی باتوں سے گریز کرنا چاہتا ہوں لیکن دوسروں پر کیچڑ اچھالنے والوں کو بتانا چاہتا ہوں کہ میں نےبطور وزیراعلٰی پنجاب اور بطور وزیراعظم پاکستان عوامی فلاح و بہبود کے کام کرنے والے رفاحی اداروں اورٹرسٹس کو مفت سرکاری زمینیں دی ہوں گی۔ مالی گرانٹس دی ہو گی۔ مشینری کی درآمد میں ٹیکسوں کی چھوٹ دی ہوں گی۔ ہمارے خاندان کے زیر انتظام چلنے والے اتفاق اسپتال یا شریف میڈیکل کمپلیکس بھی بڑے رفاحی ادارے ہیں لیکن جناب اسپیکر ان اداروں کیلئے ایک انچ سرکاری زمین دی گئی نہ کوئی ما لی گرانٹس اور نہ ہی کوئی اور عایت۔ کیا کرپشن کرنے اور سرکاری وسائل سے تجوریاں بھرنے والوں کا طرز عمل صحیح ہوتا ہے۔ جناب اسپیکر!اللہ کے فضل وکرم سے ہمارے کاروبار کی کہانی محنت، مشقت، عزم و ہمت اور رزق حلال کیلئے جدوجہد کی کہانی ہے۔ اس میں قبضہ، چوری، کمیشن، کک  بیکس، پرمٹ، کوٹے یا کسی بھی قسم کے خیانت کا شائبہ تک نہیں۔ ہم نے کسی بھی کاروبار کیلئے حاصل کیے گئے قرضے کی پائی پائی ادا کی ہے۔ ہمارے کاروبار کا آغاز قیام پاکستان سے 11 سال اور آج سے کوئی 80 برس قبل اتفاق فاوُنڈری سے ہوا۔ ہمارے کاروبار کا سب سے قیمتی اثاثہ ہمارے والد محترم کا اللہ تعالٰی پر پختہ ایمان، محنت، دیانت اور امانت تھا۔ وقت کے ساتھ ساتھ اس کاروبار نے ترقی کی۔ ۔ وقت کے ساتھ ساتھ اس کاروبار نے ترقی کی منازل طے کیں- 1970 ء تک اتفاق فاوُنڈریز کو پاکستان میں اسٹیل اور انجینئرنگ کی سب سے بڑی صنعت کا مقام مل چکا تھا۔ اور 1972ءمیں جناب اسپیکر اتفاق فاوُنڈریز کو حکومت نے قبضے میں لے لیایعنی نیشنلایز کر لیا۔ تو ہمیں مشینری، زمین دیگر اثاثوں کے معاوضے کے طور پر ایک  پیسہ بھی ادا نہیں کیا گیا۔ نیشنلائزیشن سے قبل اتفاق فاوُنڈری کا سا لانہ ٹرن اوور ساڑھے 4 کڑور روپے تھا۔ یہ میں 1971ء کی بات کر رہا ہوں جناب۔اس کے پاس 1 کروڑ 80 لاکھ کے اسٹاکس موجود تھے اور فیکٹری کی زمین 700 کنال کے وسیع رقبے پر پھیلی ہوئی تھی۔ جناب اسپیکر میں آج سے 44 سال پہلے کا ذکر کر رہا ہوں۔ جب ڈالر کی قیمت4روپے تھی۔ سی ایس پی افسر کی تنخواہ 500 روپے تھی۔ اور جو سونا آج 50 ہزار روپےفی تولہ  بک رہا ہے اس وقت اس کی قیمت صرف 155 روپے فی تولہ تھی۔ یہ سارے حقائق اس دور سے تعلق رکھتے ہیں جب میرا یا میرے خاندان کے کسی فرد کا سیاست سے دور دور کا کوئی  واسطہ نہ تھا۔ جناب اسپیکر! 8 سال بعد اتفاق فاوُنڈریز ہمیں واپس کی گئیں تو یہ کھنڈر بن چکی تھیں۔ ان کی مشینری زنگ آلود اورناکارہ ہو چکی تھیں۔کروڑوں روپے منافع کمانے والی انڈسٹری 6 کروڑ روپے سا لانہ کے خسارے میں جا چکی تھی۔ ہمارے والد نے اس تباہ حال ڈھانچے  کو دوبارہ آباد کیا۔ یہ میرے والد گرامی کی محنت و مشقت کا نتیجہ تھا کہ صرف ایک سال کی قلیل مدت میں بے جان ڈھانچہ پھر سے متحرک اور فعال صنعتی یونٹ بن گیا۔ 1983ء تک اتفا ق فاوُنڈر یز کا ٹرن اوور 60 کروڑ روپےسا لانہ سے تجاوز کر چکا تھا۔ اور یہ ادارہ 6 کروڑ روپے سا لانہ خسارے سے نکل کر 7 کروڑ 57 لاکھ روپے سا لانہ کا منافع کما رہا تھا۔ 1995 ء تک اتفا ق فاوُنڈر یز کا دائرہ مزید کئی کمپنیوں تک پھیل چکا تھا۔ جناب اسپیکر! میں یہ تفصیل ان لوگوں کیلئے فراہم کر رہا ہوں جو حقائق کو جان بوجھ کر جھٹلا رہے ہیں۔ میں اس ایوان کو اور پوری قوم کو بتا نا چاہتا ہوں کہ سیاست کے میدان میں قدم رکھنے سے پہلے میری اور میرےخاندان کی الحمد اللہ مالی حالت کیا تھی۔ میں اللہ تعالیٰ کے حضور احساسِ شکر کے ساتھ کہہ سکتا ہوں کہ مجھے وراثت میں ایک کامیاب ترقی کرتا اور پھلتا پھولتا ہوا کاروبار بھی ملا۔ میں نے پوری  دیانتداری کے ساتھ اپنے خاندانی کاروبار اور مالی حیثیت کی تفصیل بیان کر دی گئی ہے لیکن آج عا لیشان گاڑیوں میں گھومنے، بڑےبڑے قطع ہائے زمین پر پھیلے محلات میں رہنے والے، ہیلی کاپٹروں اور جہازوں میں اڑنے اور دنیا بھر کی سیروسیاحت کرنے والے بھی مناسب سمجھیں تو اس ایوان و قوم کو آگاہ کر دیں کہ ان کے سفر کا آغاز کیسے ہوا۔ 1970ء اور 80ء کی دہائی میں وہ کہاں کھڑے تھے۔اور آج ان کی شاہانہ زندگی کے ذرائع آمدنی کیا ہے۔ کچھ لوگ یہ الزام بھی لگاتے ہیں کہ جناب اسپیکر ہم ٹیکس نہیں دیتے۔ جنا ب اسپیکر! میں صرف اتنا بتا دوں کہ میرے خاندان کے صنعتی اور کاروباری اداروں نے گزشتہ 23 سال کے دوران اس میں سے 7 سے 8 سال باہر کے بھی لگا لیں جب ہم اس ملک میں نہیں تھے۔ 23 سال کے دوران تقریباً 10 ارب روپے کے ٹیکس اور حکومتی محصولات کی شکل میں ادا کیے۔جناب اسپیکر! اس کو پوری  تفصیل ایف بی آر کے  ریکارڈ میں شامل ہے۔ میں یہ تفصیل آپ کی خدمت میں پیش کر رہا ہوں۔ "یہ اسپیکر صاحب کو دے دیں"۔  جناب میرے ذاتی ٹیکس کے  حوالے سےبھی بے بنیاد کہانیاں تراشی گئیں۔ میں گزشتہ 23 سال کے دوران  8برس جبری جلا وطنی پر  تھا۔  باقی کے 15 برس میں ذاتی طور پر جناب اسپیکر ذاتی طور پر 3 کروڑ 60 لاکھ روپے ٹیکس ادا کر چکا ہوں۔ یہ تفصیل بھی میں آپ کی خدمت میں پیش کر رہا ہوں۔ "یہ بھی اسپیکر صاحب کو دے دیں" یہ بھی ایف بی آر کے ریکارڈ میں ہے۔ جناب اسپیکر! میں اب آتا ہوں لندن فلیٹس کے بارے میں پھیلائی جانے والی من گھڑت کہانیوں اور بے سروپا انسانوں کی طرف۔ کاش یہاں اسلام کی تعلیمات کے  مطابق بغیر تحقیق الزام لگانے کا کلچر  عام نہ ہوا ہوتا۔ جناب اسپیکر! 1972ء میں جب اتفاق فا وُنڈریز کو ایک پیسہ یا  معاوضہ دئیے بغیر نیشنلائزیشن ہوئی۔ تو پاکستان کے بہت سے دوسرے کاروباری حضرات اور صنعتکاروں کی طرح ہمارے والد کے سا منے بھی یہ سوال آ کھڑا ہوا کہ اب کیا کیا جائے۔پاکستان کے اندر پیدا ہو جا نے والی بے یقینی اور بے بسی کے احساس نے بہت سے صنعتکاروں کو ہجرت پر مجبور کر دیا۔ ہمارے والد محترم بھی کاروبار کی خاطر دبئی پہنچے اور گلف اسٹیل کے نام سے ایک فیکٹری قا ئم کی جو 10 لاکھ مر بع فٹ پر مشتمل تھی۔اس فیکٹری کا افتتاح اس وقت کے دبئی کے حکمران شیخ راشد المکتوم مرحوم نے کیا موجودہ رورل کے وہ والد گرامی تھے۔ میں اس افتتاح کی یادگار تصویر آپ کی خدمت  میں پیش کر رہا ہوں۔ جناب اسپیکر! یہ 4 یا5 تصویریں ہیں یہ اس سے متعلقہ ہیں۔ جناب اسپیکر! یہ فیکٹری اپریل 1980ء میں تقریباً33.37ملین درہم میں فروخت ہوئی۔ یعنی 9 ملین ڈالرز میں فروخت ہوئی۔ اس وقت بھی میرا سیاست سے کوئی تعلق نہیں تھا۔جناب اسپیکر!میں دوبارہ یہ بات بتانا چاہتا ہوں۔ ہمارے والد محترم  نے عدم تحفظ کے جس احساس کےتحت دبئی میں سرمایہ کاری کی تھی وہ 1999ء میں درست ثابت ہوا جب ہمارے خاندان کا کاروبار ایک بار پھر مفلوج کر دیا گیا۔ ہمارے گھروں پر قبضہ کر لیا گیا،اولڈ ایج ہوم میرے گھر  کو بنا دیا گیا اور ہمیں ملک بدر کر دیا گیا۔ جناب یہ وہ وقت تھا کہ گھروں، ہمارے دفتروں اور ہمارے کاروباری اداروں سے سارا ریکارڈ قبضے  میں لے لیا۔ جو بار بار کے تحریری تقاضوں کے با وجود ہمیں واپس نہیں ملا۔ اس سارے ریکارڈ کا کئی کئی جگہ بڑی باریک بینی سے جائزہ لیا گیا اور ہمارے بینکوں کے کھاتوں کو کھنگالہ گیا۔ ملک سے باہر بھی ٹیمیں بھیجی گئیں اور اس دوران ہم جیلوں میں بند تھے اور کرپشن، منی لانڈرنگ، نا جائز اثاثہ جات بنانے اور ریاستی وسائل کے نا جائز استعمال جیسے الزامات کی یلغار میں تھے۔ حکومت وقت نے سر توڑ کوشش  کر لی لیکن اللہ کے فضل وکرم کسی بھی فورم پر ہمارے بارے میں رتی برابر بد عنوانی ثابت نہ ہو سکی۔ ہم ایک ایسے ظالمانہ اور یکطرفہ احتساب میں بھی سر خرو نکلے جس میں  سےشاید ہی کوئی دوسرا خاندان گزرا ہو۔جب حکومت کی سر توڑ کوششوں کے با وجود کرپشن تو کیا کوئی مالی بے ضابطگی بھی نہ مل سکی تو ہمیں سزا دینے کیلئے طیارہ اغواء کے مضحکہ خیز ڈرامے کا سہارا لیا گیا۔ جناب اسپیکر! تب ہمارے والد محترم حیات تھے، انہوں نے جلا وطنی میں ایک بار  پھر کمر  باندھی اور جدہ میں ایک اسٹیل مل لگائی۔ اس کی بنیادی سرمایہ کاری کیلئے دبئی فیکٹری کے فروخت سے حا صل ہونے والے سرمائے نے بھی مدد کی، جدہ کی یہ فیکٹری جون 2005ء میں اپنی مشینری وسیع قطع اراضی اور دیگر اثاثوں سمیت تقریباً 64 ملین ریال یعنی 17 ملین ڈالرز میں فروخت ہوئی۔ جناب اسپیکر! دبئی اور جدہ کی فیکٹری کے حوالے سے تمام ریکارڈ اور دستاویز موجود ہیں۔ یہ ہیں وہ ذرائع اور وسائل جن سے لندن کے فلیٹس خریدے گئے۔ جناب اسپیکر! میں بلا خوف تردید حتمی طور پر واضح اور دو ٹوک الفاظ میں کہہ سکتا ہوں کہ جدہ مل اسٹیل مل ہو یا لندن کے فلیٹس یا اور کوئی ادائیگی، پاکستان سے ان کیلئے ایک روپیہ بھی باہر نہیں گیا۔ کمیشن کے قیام کے بارے میں جناب اسپیکر محترم چیف جسٹس صاحب کا خط حکومت کو موصول ہو گیا۔ ہمارے قانونی ماہرین اس کا جائزہ لے رہے ہیں۔ اگر مقصد حقیقی معنوں میں بد عنوانی کا تدارک اور بد عنوان عناصر کو بے نقاب کرنا ہے تو ہمیں جناب چیف جسٹس کے خط کی روشنی میں ایک قابل عمل طریقہ کار طے کرنے میں کوئی مشکل پیش نہیں آنی چاہئے۔ جناب اسپیکر میری درخواست ہے کہ آپ قائد حزب اختلاف جناب خورشید شاہ صاحب اور دیگر پارلیمنٹری لیڈرز کی مشاورت سے ایک پارلیمانی کمیٹی بنائیں جو اتفاق رائے سے جا مع ٹرمز آف ریفرنس اور دیگر معاملات کو حتمی شکل دیں۔ تاکہ بد عنوانی کا ارتکاب کر نے والوں کا تعین اور معاسبہ کیا جا سکے۔ جناب اسپیکر میں یہاں یہ بھی کہنا چاہتا ہوں کہ ایوان کی مجوزہ کمیٹی جو بھی فورم اور طریقہ کار طے کرے گی میرے بیان کردہ حقائق کی مزید تفصیل تمام شواہد کے ساتھ اس کے سامنے رکھ دی جائے گی۔ تا کہ الزام اور بہتان کا سلسلہ ختم ہو۔ اور یہ تاثر  نہ دیا جا سکے کہ کچھ تو گناہوں میں لت پت ہیں اور کچھ ایسے بھی ہیں جن کے لباس سے فرشتوں کی خو شبو آتی ہے۔ جناب اسپیکر!اصولوں، اخلاقیات اور احتساب کی بات کرنی ہے تو پھر الگ الگ معیار اور الگ الگ پیمانے نہیں چلیں گے۔ تولنا ہے تہ سب کو ایک ہی ترازو میں تولنا ہو گا۔ جناب اسپیکر! 70 برس قوم کےمقدر کو ایسے ہی تماشوں کے بھینٹ چڑھایا جاتا رہا ہے۔ خدا خدا کر کے ہم سنبھلے ہیں ہم نے واضح منزلوں کیلئے واضح راستوں کا تعین کر لیا ہے۔  بڑی مشکل سے نوجوانوں کی مایوس آنکھوں میں امید کے چراغ روشن ہو رہے ہیں۔ ہماری معشیت مستحکم ہو رہی ہے۔ ہمارے شہروں کا امن واپس آ رہا ہے۔ قومی سطح پر ہمارے وقار اور اعتماد میں اضافہ ہو رہا ہے۔ ہر پاکستانی تسلیم کرتا ہے جناب اسپیکرکہ آج کا پاکستان 3 سال پہلے کے پاکستان سے زیادہ روشن، زیادہ توانا اور زیادہ مستحکم ہے۔ اور جناب اسپیکر میرا دل گواہی دے رہا ہے کی اللہ کے فضل وکرم 2018ء  کا پاکستان آج کے پاکستان سے بھی کہیں زیادہ روشن،کہیں زیادہ توانا، کہیں زیادہ پر امن اور کہیں زیادہ مستحکم ہو گا۔ انشاءاللہ۔ پاکستان پائندہ باد۔

 

The salient points of that speech are reproduced below:

 

* I want the allegations against my family to be inquired into. We are ready for accountability and we do not need any constitutional or legal immunity.

* I have nothing to hide and everything is like an open book.

* Upon nationalization of Ittefaq Foundries not a single Paisa was paid to us as compensation for the machinery, land or other assets.

* After 8 years Ittefaq Foundries was returned to us and it was in ruins. My father turned it around in just one year and made it into an active and vibrant industrial unit.

* By the year 1983 Ittefaq Foundries was yielding profit of Rupees 7 crores and 57 lacs per annum and by the year 1995 it had expanded to many other companies.

* Before my entry into politics our family was quite prosperous and I inherited a successful and growing business.

* In the last about 23 years my family’s businesses have paid about 10 billion Rupees in taxes and government dues.

* In the last 23 years, excluding 8 years of forced exile, I have personally paid Rupees 3 crores and 60 lacs as tax.

* After nationalization of Ittefaq Foundries in the year 1972, for which no compensation was paid, my father proceeded to Dubai for doing business and established a factory by the name of Gulf Steel. That factory was sold in April 1980 for about 33.37 million Dirhams (about 9 million US Dollars).

* In the year 1999 our business was again crippled, our houses were taken over and we were exiled from the country. At that time the entire record was taken away from our homes, offices and business concerns which was not returned to us despite repeated efforts.

* Despite an exhaustive scrutiny of that record and our bank accounts no illegality or corruption had been found by the concerned quarters.

* While in exile my father set up a steel factory in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and for such investment the proceeds of sale of the factory in Dubai also helped.

* The steel factory in Jeddah was sold along with its machinery, land and other assets in June 2005 for about 64 million Riyals (about 17 million US Dollars).

* The entire record and documents pertaining to the Dubai and Jeddah factories are available.

* These are the means and resources with which the flats in London had been “purchased”.

* No money was sent out of Pakistan for any payment for the factory in Jeddah or the flats in London.

* The entire evidence and other details in support of the facts stated by me shall be produced before any committee or forum.

 

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. The transcript of that interview is available on the record of this Court and none from either side of this case has disputed the authenticity of that transcript. 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.

 

79.       Respondent No. 1 and his children have maintained before this Court that a factory in Dubai was set up by respondent No. 1’s father namely Mian Muhammad Sharif through his Benamidar and nephew namely Mr. Tariq Shafi in the year 1974 and then it was sold by him in parts in the years 1978 and 1980 through the said Mr. Tariq Shafi fetching about 33.37 million Dirhams (about 9 million US Dollars) and it is claimed by respondent No. 1 and his children that the relevant properties in London had been acquired in the year 2006. No record has been produced before us to show how much money was available for setting up the factory in Dubai, how that money was transferred to or arranged in Dubai, what happened to the 33.37 million Dirhams received by respondent No. 1’s father upon sale of the factory in Dubai, how funds were generated for setting up the factory in Jeddah, what happened to the 64 million Riyals (about 17 million US Dollars) received upon sale of the factory in Jeddah in June 2005, how funds were transferred to London for “purchase” of the relevant properties in London and through which legal instrument the said properties or the offshore companies owning them were acquired. It is ironical that on the one hand respondent No. 1 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. Apart from that the money fetched by sale of the factory in Dubai belonged to respondent No. 1’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 respondent No. 1 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 respondent No. 1 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 respondent No. 1 or his children. We have been informed that Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif started doing his own business after the year 2000 when respondent No. 1 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. It may be pertinent to mention here that respondent No. 1 had categorically maintained before the National Assembly that the said properties in London had been “purchased” through proceeds of sales of the factories in Dubai and Jeddah (and not through any private resources of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif or through any settlement of an investment of his grandfather in Qatar). Respondent No. 1’s father namely Mian Muhammad Sharif had died in the year 2004 and the relevant properties in London had statedly been acquired in the name of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif in the year 2006. Upon the death of Mian Muhammad Sharif in the year 2004 all his assets had automatically devolved upon all his legal heirs including respondent No. 1 and if the properties in London had been acquired through the funds generated through sale of the factories in Dubai and Jeddah then the said funds belonged to respondent No. 1 and the other heirs of late Mian Muhammad Sharif. It is, thus, evident from the stands of respondent No. 1 and his children themselves that funds belonging at that time to respondent No. 1 had been utilized for acquisition of the said properties in London in the year 2006 establishing an undeniable connection between respondent No. 1 and the relevant properties, a connection which has not been explained by the said respondent at all. The record produced before the Court shows that inheritance of Mian Muhammad Sharif was settled amongst his heirs through an agreement dated January 01, 2009. Respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif was not an heir of his grandfather namely Mian Muhammad Sharif. 

 

80.       The only concrete material produced by respondent No. 1 before this Court in respect of generation of funds outside Pakistan is in the shape of copies of the above mentioned Share Sale Contract and Tripartite Sale Agreement through which the factory in Dubai was sold in the years 1978 and 1980 and the supporting affidavit of Mr. Tariq Shafi sworn on November 12, 2016. The learned counsel for the petitioners have dug holes in the said documents and have pointed out that through the sale of 75% shares of that factory in the year 1978 not a single Dirham had become available to respondent No. 1’s father as the entire proceeds of the sale had to be adjusted towards some admitted outstanding liabilities. With reference to clauses (4)(B), (4)(C), (4)(D) and (5) of the Share Sale Contract mentioned above it has been pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioners that at the time of sale of 75% shares of the factory in Dubai in the year 1978 Mr. Tariq Shafi’s liability as the ostensible owner was more than 36 million Dirhams and at that time an amount of 6 million Dirhams was still due to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). They have also pointed out from the above mentioned document that at that time Mr. Tariq Shafi was still to discharge some liabilities towards Dubai Electricity Company to the tune of about 3 million Dirhams. On April 14, 1980 Mr. Tariq Shafi had sold his remaining 25% shares in the said factory in Dubai for 12 million Dirhams. It has, thus, been demonstrated before us that the assertion of respondent No. 1 that 33.37 million Dirhams had been received by respondent No. 1’s father upon sale of the factory in Dubai in the year 1980 which money was later on utilized for “purchase” of the properties in London in the year 2006 was an assertion which was untrue. Referring to the affidavit sworn by Mr. Tariq Shafi on November 12, 2016 the learned counsel for the petitioners have submitted that Mr. Tariq Shafi had admitted that he was only about 19 years of age at the relevant time, he was an ostensible owner of the factory in Dubai and as a matter of fact he was only a Benamidar for respondent No. 1’s father namely Mian Muhammad Sharif. Mr. Tariq Shafi had also stated in that affidavit that upon the sale of the factory in Dubai he had received 12 million Dirhams which amount had been received by him on behalf of respondent No. 1’s father. It has, thus, been maintained by the learned counsel for the petitioners that the documents brought on the record of this petition by respondent No. 1 himself clearly established that the assertion of respondent No. 1 in the National Assembly that an amount of 33.37 million Dirhams had been received by his father upon sale of the factory in Dubai was factually incorrect and, therefore, even the assertions that the factory in Jeddah had been set up through that amount and then the properties in London had been “purchased” through those resources were also untrue.

 

81.       I have further noticed that while concluding the above mentioned Tripartite Sale Agreement respondent No. 1’s father had acted through his attorney and nephew namely Mr. Tariq Shafi. A bare look at the affidavit statedly sworn by Mr. Tariq Shafi on November 12, 2016 and referred to above makes it apparent to a naked eye that the signatures of Mr. Tariq Shafi on the said affidavit are clearly different from the signatures on the Tripartite Sale Agreement attributed to him. I may, therefore, be justified in observing that either the copy of the Tripartite Sale Agreement produced before the Court is bogus or the affidavit attributed to Mr. Tariq Shafi is not genuine.

 

82.       On account of the facts mentioned above I have entertained serious doubts about the claim of respondent No. 1 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. The authenticity of the reports regarding such interviews has never been denied by the persons giving the interviews nor the learned counsel for the respondents have contested the same when specifically asked by the Court. Respondent No. 8 namely Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif, a son of respondent No. 1, had admitted in an interview with Tim Sebastian on BBC’s programme Hard Talk in November 1999, about seven years prior to the stated acquisition of the properties in London, that he was a student with no earnings of his own, he did not own those properties but he was living in the same on rent and the money for his living in those properties came from Pakistan on a quarterly basis. The newspaper Guardian, London had quoted Mrs. Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif, the lady wife of respondent No. 1, on April 10, 2000 as saying that the properties in London had been “bought” by the family because the children were studying in England. Respondent No. 6 namely Mariam Safdar, a daughter of respondent No. 1, had stated in her interview with Ms. Sana Bucha on Geo News television on November 08, 2011 that she lived with her father, she had no house in Pakistan, she had no property in Central London and she had no connection with any property in Pakistan or abroad. If a trust deed statedly executed between her and Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif in respect of the properties in London had existed since the year 2006 then she would have mentioned that in that interview given in the year 2011. Respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif, a son of respondent No. 1, had stated in his interview with Mr. Hamid Mir in Capital Talk on Geo News television on January 19, 2016 that sale of the factory in Jeddah had fetched good money which had been “officially transferred” to England about eleven or twelve years ago and through that money he had acquired three properties there through “mortgages” for which payments were still being made. He had gone on to state in that interview that the said properties had been “purchased” by him and they were still in possession of the family. Unfortunately no record of the stated “official” transfer of money from Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom had been produced before this Court. That stance of respondent No. 7 regarding “purchase” of those properties through “mortgages” had subsequently been changed. No mention had been made in that interview to any investment made by Mian Muhammad Sharif in real estate business in Qatar and to the properties in London having been acquired as a result of any settlement of that investment. Respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif had also stated in his interview with Mr. Javed Chaudhry on Express News television on March 07, 2016 that he owned the offshore companies which owned the properties in London, the said properties were “ours” (the family) and respondent No. 8, his brother, was doing business in London for the last 21 years, i.e. since the year 1995. It has already been noticed above that respondent No. 8 had stated in the year 1999 that he was a student and he had no earnings of his own till then. In the said interview too respondent No. 7 had made no mention of any investment made by his grandfather in Qatar the settlement of which investment had statedly provided the funds for acquisition of the properties in London in the year 2006. 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. At least one thing is quite clearly established from the above mentioned undisputed and uncontroverted interviews that respondent No. 1 and his family are in possession of the properties in London since early 1990s. Except for two statements of a gentleman belonging to Al-Thani family of Qatar, which statements shall be discussed shortly, absolutely nothing has been brought on the record of these petitions by respondent No. 1 and his children explaining as to when and how they had come in possession of the said properties in London. The interviews detailed above also paint a very confusing picture of when and how the said properties had been “purchased” by respondent No. 1 or one of his sons and all the stories advanced are not only contradictory to each other but also incompatible with the stands taken by respondent No. 1 before the nation, the National Assembly and this Court.

 

83.       A chart reproduced below highlights the serious contradictions in the stands taken by respondent No. 1 and his immediate family from time to time in the matter of acquisition of the relevant four properties in London which contradictions may reflect upon their lack of honesty on the issue:

 

Respondents

Medium

Stance

Problems

 

Respondent No. 1:

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Address to the nation:

April 05, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

During the days of forced exile our father once again established a steel factory near the city of Makkah.

 

This factory was established, for which loans were obtained from Saudi Banks, and then after a few years the factory was sold with all its assets.

 

These resources were used by my sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz for their new business.

 

 

* Did not mention setting up and sale of the factory in Dubai at all.

 

* Did not explicitly mention any particular resource for acquisition of the properties in London.

 

* Did not mention that the sale proceeds of the factory in Jeddah were used to acquire the properties in London but maintained that the proceeds were used by his two sons for their new business.

 

* Did not even hint at any investment made in Qatar and the subsequent settlement upon which the whole edifice was built by his children.

 

* Proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah mentioned as the source of funds for his two son’s business but the said sons maintained that investment with Al-Thani family of Qatar was the source of funds for Hassan Nawaz Sharif’s business.

 

 

Speech in the National Assembly: May16, 2016

 

Our father also reached Dubai for the purpose of business and established a factory with the name of Gulf Steel comprising of 10 lac square feet of area. Mr. Speaker! This factory, in 1980, was sold for 33.37 million Dirhams or for 9 million Dollars. Mr. Speaker! Our father was alive then. He once again, in exile, established a steel factory in Jeddah. Among the primary source of funds which helped in establishing Jeddah factory was the funds received from the sale of Gulf factory. In June 2005, Jeddah factory was sold for approximately 64 million Riyals or 17 million Dollars along with its machinery, land and other assets. Mr. Speaker! All the record and documents regarding sale of Gulf factory and Jeddah factory are available. These are the means and resources which were used to “purchase” the flats in London. Mr. Speaker! Let me say this in clear and unambiguous terms that whether it was Jeddah factory, London flats or any other payment, not a single Rupee from Pakistan had been transferred for them. The insecurity because of which our father invested in Dubai was proved to be well founded in 1999 when our family business was once again crippled.

 

 

* Setting up and sale of a factory in Dubai mentioned for the first time.

 

* No reference made to any investment in Qatar.

 

* Clearly stated that no money for the factory in Jeddah or the flats in London went from Pakistan. However, it was not clearly stated that no money went from Pakistan for the factory in Dubai.

 

* The stance about “purchase” of the flats in London was not supported by his children and he produced nothing before the nation, the National Assembly or this Court to explain or justify the claimed purchase.

 

* In his address to the nation he stated that sale of the factory in Jeddah was the source of funds for his sons’ business but in this address he stated that proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah were used to purchase the flats in London.

 

 

 

All concise statements filed by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif before this Court

 

Denied ownership of any of the four properties in London.

 

* Never denied possession of the four properties in London.

 

* Never said that the said four properties belong to his children.

 

* Did not mention sale of the factory in Jeddah being the sources of funds for acquisition of the flats in London as mentioned in his speech in the National Assembly.

 

* No mention of the factory in Dubai, the factory in Jeddah or any investment in Qatar.

 

 

 

Mrs. Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif quoted by Guardian, London:

April 10, 2000.

 

Park Lane flats were bought because the children were studying in London.”

 

* Children were studying in London in the 1990’s.

 

* Supported her husband’s stance that the flats in London had been “purchased”.

 

* Contradicted the stance of her children that the flats were acquired in 2006.

 

 

Respondent No. 6:

Mariam Safdar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview:  Lekin, Geo News: November 08, 2011

 

I do not have any property in Central London, in fact far from it, I do not own any property even in Pakistan. I live with my father. I fail to understand from where they have dug out properties belonging to me, my mother, my sister or my brothers.

 

 

* In 2011 she denied that she or her siblings owned any property in London whereas her stance before this Court is that her brother Hussain Nawaz Sharif owns the relevant four properties in Central London since 2006 and she is a trustee of those properties for the said brother since 2006.

 

 

Joint concise statement filed by respondents No. 6, 7 and 8:

November 07, 2016

 

 

“Respondent No. 6 is only a trustee for Respondent No. 7 in relation to Nescoll.”

 

 

* Did not mention that she was a trustee for respondent No. 7 in relation to Nielsen Enterprise Limited also.

 

 

Additional statement filed by respondent No. 6:  January 24, 2017

 

She came to know of the settlement in Qatar regarding the flats in London in 2005 when she was asked to become a trustee for her brother.

 

* That meant that she knew about acquisition of the flats in London by one of her brothers since 2005 but in her interview in 2011 she categorically denied knowledge of any property of his brothers or sister in London.

 

* She maintained that she had been asked to become a trustee for her brothers in respect of the flats in London in 2005 whereas the flats had statedly been transferred in favour of her brother in 2006. This established that the flats were already owned by the brother since before the so-called settlement of business in Qatar.

  

 

Respondent No. 7:

Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview: Capital Talk,

Geo News:

January 19, 2016

 

 

Stance 1:

The sale of the factory in Saudi Arabia fetched “us” a very good amount and that money was then “officially transferred” to Britain.

 

Stance 2:

From that officially transferred money to Britain I had obtained three properties in London through “mortgage”. Those properties are still mortgaged and the mortgage amount is still being paid for them gradually. “We”, again said “I”, had “purchased” those properties in 2006.

 

Stance 3:

All the assets were distributed in 2005 whereafter my father ceased to have any “legal” connection with his sons’ businesses but according to Shariah “everything belonging to me is his” and even I am owned by him.

 

 

* No document produced to show that any amount was officially transferred from Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom after sale of the factory in Jeddah.

 

* No proof of any mortgage created for acquisition of the properties in London has been produced.

 

* The story about mortgage was a totally new story and completely contradictory to the other stories based upon purchase or settlement in Qatar.

 

* A document produced by respondent No. 1 before the Court showed that after the death of Mian Muhammad Sharif in 2004 his inheritance had been settled in 2009 with distribution of assets.

 

* Under Shariah respondent No. 7 was not an heir of his grandfather Mian Muhammad Sharif and, thus, he did not inherit anything from him in 2004. After the death of the grandfather in 2004 all his assets, including any investment in Qatar, automatically devolved upon his heirs including respondent No. 1. So, respondent No. 1 was one of the owners of the assets which were statedly transferred in favour of respondent No. 7 in 2006 and that is why respondent No. 7 might have said that “everything belonging to me is his”. 

 

 

Interview: Hum Dekhaingay

92 News:

April 04, 2016.

 

In 2005 I sold a factory in Saudi Arabia and proceeds of that factory were used to purchase these properties. ----- This is the source and there is nothing except this.

 

The factory that was installed in Saudi Arabia was sold in 2005 by us and a part of those proceeds was used to purchase the properties in London. The companies that were holding those properties were purchased.

 

 

* The subsequent stand that the properties in London had been acquired through a settlement of an investment in Qatar stood completely destroyed.

 

* The subsequent statement of the gentleman from Qatar to the effect that bearer shares of the relevant companies were delivered to respondent No. 7 in exchange of settling approximately 8 million US Dollars from an investment in Qatar was completely belied.

 

 

Joint concise statement filed by respondents No. 6, 7 and 8:

November 07, 2016

 

“Source of funds, resulting in vesting of beneficial ownership of the entities and, consequently the properties in Respondent No. 7, in January 2006, was the investment made by late Mian Muhammad Sharif, in the year 1980, from the sale proceeds of his steel business in Dubai.”

 

* The first statement of the gentleman from Qatar was dated November 05, 2016 but that was not mentioned in this concise statement filed two days later.

 

* A case of obvious and deliberate suppression of facts. Qatar was not even mentioned.

 

* The statement of the gentleman from Qatar dated November 05, 2016 mentioned the amount of investment but this concise statement did not.

 

* Did not mention setting up or sale of the factory in Jeddah which, according to respondent No. 7’s interviews, was the source of funds for purchase of the properties in London.

 

 

Joint supplement-ary concise statement filed by respondents No. 6, 7 and 8:

November 15, 2016

 

The four flats in London had been purchased by Al-Thani family of Qatar through two offshore companies, the said family had allowed late Mian Muhammad Sharif and his family to use the said properties whilst bearing all the expenses relating to them including ground rent and service charges and ultimately in 2006 the account between Al-Thani family and Respondent No.7 was settled through which the properties were transferred to him by delivery of the bearer shares of the companies to a nominee of respondent No. 7.

 

* Within 8 days between filing of the joint concise statement on November 07, 2016 and filing of the joint supplementary concise statement on November 15, 2016 the story jointly put forward by the children of respondent No. 1 underwent a sea change. Al-Thani family and investment in Qatar was introduced and permissive user of the properties in London was disclosed.

 

* Contradicted by respondent No. 8’s interview with BBC in 1999 according to which he was then a student living in these flats which had been taken on rent and the rent for the same was sent from Pakistan on a quarterly basis.

 

* Contradicted by both the parents of respondents No. 6, 7 and 8 who have consistently maintained that the said properties had been “purchased” or “bought”.

 

* No material produced to show who paid the utility bills and taxes, etc. relevant to the said properties before 2006.

 

 

Further statement filed by respondents No. 7 and 8 jointly:

January 26, 2017

 

After a settlement of the investment of Mian Muhammad Sharif a balance amount of over 8 million US Dollars was determined as payable by the Al-Thani family of Qatar to respondent No. 7. It was agreed that the balance amount payable would be considered discharged upon transfer to respondent No. 7 of the shares of two companies, M/s Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited that held title to the four flats in London.

 

 

* Contradicted by respondent No. 7’s stance in different interviews wherein he had maintained that the properties in London had been “bought” by him through using the proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah.

 

* Contradicted by both the parents of respondents No. 6, 7 and 8 who have consistently maintained that the said properties had been “purchased” or “bought”.

 

 

Respondent No. 8:

Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif

 

Interview on Hard Talk, BBC London:

November 1999

 

Categorically stated that he was a student with no earnings of his own, he did not own the relevant flats in London but he was living in the same on rent and the money for his living in those properties came from Pakistan on a quarterly basis.

 

 

* Contradicted by his mother who had told Guardian newspaper of London that the said flats had been “bought” because the children were studying in London.

 

* Contradicted by his father who never talked about taking the relevant flats on rent.

 

* Contradicted by two statements of the gentleman from Qatar who maintained that permissive possession of the flats had been given to the family of Mian Muhammad Sharif with no charge.

 

 

The facts mentioned above are neither disputed nor intricate. The material referred to above is not controverted by respondent No. 1 or his children and the same material is in fact also relied upon by the petitioners. None of the parties has asked us to record any evidence or to call for any evidence. No detailed assessment of such material is required because the material speaks for itself. Res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself). 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. However, that is not all as much more is still to follow.

 

84.       On one of the dates of hearing of these petitions Mr. Muhammad Akram Sheikh, Sr. ASC, the then learned counsel for the children of respondent No. 1, dramatically, and with theatrical impact, took out an envelope from his brief and produced before the Court a document containing a statement of one Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani who statedly belongs to the royal family of Qatar and had remained a Prime Minister of that country in the past. That statement was made on November 05, 2016 and the signatures of the gentleman on that statement had been attested by the Ambassador of Pakistan to Qatar on the same day. That statement was not an affidavit nor the contents of the same had been attested by any authority or authorized person. The contents of that document are reproduced below for facility of reference:

              

Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani

 

5 November 2016

 

I, the undersigned, do hereby state the following:

 

1.             My father had longstanding business relations with Mr. Mian Muhammad Sharif, which were coordinated through my eldest brother. Our Families enjoyed and continue to enjoy personal relations.

 

2.             I was informed that during the year 1980, Mr. Mian Muhammad Sharif expressed his desire to invest a certain amount of money in real estate business of Al Thani family in Qatar.

 

3.             I understood at that time, that an aggregate sum of around 12 Million Dirhams (AED 12,000,000) was contributed by Mr. Mian Muhammad Sharif, originating from the sale of business in Dubai, UAE.

 

4.             The properties Flat # 17, Flat # 17a, Flat # 16, Flat # 16a at Avenfield House, Park Lane, London were registered in the ownership of two offshore companies, bearer share certificates of which were kept during that time in Qatar. These were purchased from the proceeds of the real estate business.

 

                On account of relationship between the families, Mr. Mian Muhammad Sharif and his family used the Properties whilst bearing all expenses relating to the Properties, including the ground rent and service charges.

 

5.             I can recall that during his life time, Mr. Mian Muhammad Sharif wished that the beneficiary of his investment and returns in the real estate business is his Grandson, Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif.

 

6.             In the year 2006, the accounts in relation to the above investment were settled between Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif & Al Thani family, who then delivered the bearer shares of the companies referred in para 4 above to a representative of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif.

 

The foregoing, as far as my recollection of events and the available records in Doha, depicts the relationship between the families.

 

This statement is private and confidential; it cannot be used or disclosed to any party without my prior written consent, except to the benefit of the courts and regulators of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

(signed)

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

 

Signature of H. E. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani is ATTESTED.

(signed)

(Shahzad Ahmad)

Ambassador of Pakistan

Doha-Qatar

(seal)”

 

That document was dropped on the Court like a bombshell hoping that the same would destroy the allegations leveled in the present petitions by explaining as to how the properties in London had come in possession of respondent No. 1’s family and in the ownership of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif, a son of respondent No. 1, and putting to rest the controversy about availability as well as legitimacy of the resources for acquisition of those properties. It is, however, ironical that the said bombshell has caused more damage to the case of respondent No. 1 and his children than to the case of the petitioners. In fact the devastation wreaked by that document upon the case of respondent No. 1 and his children may be incalculable and beyond their contemplation.

 

85.       The first thought that comes to mind in the context of the said statement of Mr. Al-Thani is about its timing. In the first address to the nation respondent No. 1 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. In his second address to the nation respondent No. 1 did not talk about any specific source of funds for such acquisition at all. In his speech in the National Assembly respondent No. 1 introduced the factory in Dubai and the proceeds of its sale besides the purchase and sale of a factory in Jeddah (not near Makkah) but uttered no word about any investment in Qatar or any resource becoming available through any real estate business in Qatar. In those speeches respondent No. 1 had categorically said that those were the funds and resources through which the properties in London had been “purchased” and also that he had given the entire background of his family’s business and he had informed his countrymen about all the important stages of his family’s journey in business. He had maintained on that occasion that the “true” facts had been fully brought to the knowledge of his dear countrymen. He had also claimed that nothing had been concealed by him and that everything was like an “open book”. The subsequently introduced statement from Qatar, however, established beyond doubt that the speeches made by respondent No. 1 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 before the nation or its representatives in the National Assembly are juxtaposed with the above mentioned statement received from Qatar it becomes obvious that they are mutually destructive and cannot coexist simultaneously as the truth. The speeches spoke of “purchase” of the properties in London whereas the statement from Qatar spoke of transfer of those properties as a result of a “settlement” in the backdrop of an earlier investment in real estate business in Qatar. The speeches spoke of a route of funds which was Makkah-London or Dubai-Jeddah-London but the statement from Qatar disclosed a totally different route, i.e. Dubai-Doha-London. An impression is, thus, unavoidable that all was not well with the divergent explanations being advanced and it was not just the resources and the routes of resources which were being changed from time to time but it was the “truth” which was being improved, moulded and sacrificed at the altar of expedience. It is of critical importance to mention here that even in his concise statements submitted by respondent No. 1 before this Court in connection with the present petitions the said respondent has not said a word about any investment in real estate business in Qatar or about some funds becoming available through a settlement in respect of such business!

 

86.       The above mentioned statement from Qatar has multiple other problems with it as well. 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 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 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 mentioned in the statement was not identified. The stated wish of respondent No. 1’s 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. As already mentioned above, respondent No. 1’s father namely Mian Muhammad Sharif had died in the year 2004. If that were so then no will of late Mian Muhammad Sharif was brought on the record of this case on the basis of which his investment in Qatar could be settled in the year 2006 in favour of one of his grandsons to the exclusion of all the legal heirs, particularly when that grandson was not even an heir. The maker of the above mentioned statement had never claimed in that statement that the two offshore companies which owned the relevant four properties in London were owned by Al-Thani family of Qatar and all that had been maintained in that statement was that the bearer share certificates of such companies were kept at that time in Qatar. No record of the relevant offshore companies was produced to show as to how and when Al-Thani family of Qatar had allowed the family of respondent No. 1 to use the said properties and then how those companies and properties were transferred to the ownership of a son of respondent No. 1. As already observed above, the said statement from Qatar has gone a long way in irretrievably damaging the earlier stands of respondent No. 1 and in fortifying the impression that he has not made a clean breast of himself and with every varying stance he has exposed himself further.

 

87.       The learned counsel for the petitioners had referred to a judgment dated March 16, 1999 handed down by the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, London whereby a huge sum of money was decreed on November 05, 1999 in favour of Al Towfeek Company and against Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif (a younger brother of respondent No. 1), Mian Muhammad Sharif (the father of respondent No. 1) and Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif (another younger brother of respondent No. 1). The record pertaining to the said judgment and decree shows that for satisfaction of the decree the same four properties in London which are also the subject matter of the present petitions had been attached and subsequently on February 21, 2000 the charge/caution on those four properties was lifted by the court upon satisfaction of the decree which was to the tune of about 34 million US Dollars. The Directors of Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited included Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Mariam Safdar, respondents No. 6 and 7 herein. The said respondents and the other defendants would not have paid such a huge amount to get the charge/caution lifted from the four properties in London if they had nothing to do with the ownership of those properties in the years 1999 and 2000. Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif was aged about 28 years and had no business of his own till then, Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif was a student with no personal earnings and Mariam Safdar did not own any property at that time, as disclosed by themselves in their interviews mentioned above. The details of that case in London had found a specific mention in paragraph No. 113 of the judgment passed by this Court in the case of Syed Zafar Ali Shah and others v. General Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan and others (PLD 2000 SC 869). Apart from that the source of funds available for making a huge payment of about 34 million US Dollars in the year 2000 towards satisfaction of the above mentioned decree had not been disclosed by respondent No. 1 and his children before this Court till another statement of the same gentleman from Qatar was filed before the Court later on.

 

88.       The petitioners had brought on the record of these petitions some emails and documents based upon some correspondence between the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Islands and the relevant law firm namely Mossack Fonseca. The said correspondence had taken place in the year 2012 and the emails and documents brought on the record tended to reveal that according to the records maintained by that law firm and the administrator (Minerva Trust & Corporate Services Limited) of the two offshore companies owning the relevant four properties in London in the year 2012 Mariam Safdar was the beneficial owner of two of such properties, there was no trust connected with the said four properties, Mariam Safdar was a client of Minerva Financial Services Limited at least since the year 2005 and in her signed Personal Information Form she had maintained that the source of her wealth was the family’s wealth and business spread over a period of 60 years. That material had prima facie seriously damaged the case of respondent No. 1 and his children regarding Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif being the sole beneficial owner of all the four properties in London, the said properties having been acquired in the year 2006 and the settlement in Qatar in the year 2006 being the source of funds for acquisition of those properties. The said material brought on the record of these petitions by the petitioners had, however, been denied before us by Mariam Safdar and her brothers by maintaining that the material produced by the petitioners was fake and bogus. As the information in the above mentioned regards was found by us to be of some importance, therefore, we had repeatedly required respondent No. 1 and his children, i.e. respondents No. 6, 7 and 8 to produce before the Court the record of both the offshore companies owning the relevant four properties in London showing when and how the said companies came to be owned by respondent No. 1 and/or his children, or by any of them, when and how respondent No. 1 and/or his family got possession of the said properties, when and how the said properties were acquired by respondent No. 1 and/or his children and was any trust connected with those properties existed on the record of the relevant companies or their administrator or not. It is unfortunate that the relevant record was not produced before the Court and the sketchy material actually produced was not of much assistance. Be that as it may, as the said issues highlighted through the above mentioned emails involved some disputed questions of fact, therefore, I have decided not to adjudicate upon the same in the present proceedings under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. I am mindful of the fact that the issue in the present proceedings before this Court is not any property or who owns it but the issue is resources for acquisition of some property and honesty of a person in explaining availability of such resources in the constitutional context of Article 62(1)(f) thereof.

 

89.       Respondent No. 8 namely Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif had maintained in his interview mentioned above that he was a student in the year 1999, he had no earnings of his own and the money required for his stay and studies in England used to come from Pakistan. However, in the Joint Concise Statement (Civil Miscellaneous Application No. 7319 of 2016 filed by respondents No. 6, 7 and 8 on November 7, 2016) respondent No. 8 had maintained that he was conducting his own business for the last about 22 years (since the year 1994) which was not what he had stated in his interview with Tim Sebastian of BBC in the year 1999. The history of his independent business brought on the record of this case starts in the year 2001 and it appears that he might have concealed his business and income between the years 1994 and 2001. Respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif had stated in his interview referred to above that his brother Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif was doing business in England since the year 1995. Their father namely Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, respondent No. 1, had stated in his first address to the nation on April 05, 2016 that the proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah in June 2005 had been utilized for setting up of his sons’ business. Was respondent No. 1 being honest when he said that his sons set up their business in the year 2005? Some uncontroverted documents brought on the record of these petitions show that respondent No. 8 namely Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif had started his business on April 12, 2001 as Director of a British company named Flagship Investment Limited and according to the Director’s Report of that company dated March 31, 2002 respondent No. 8 had Pounds Sterling 705,071 as the Director of that company. The Financial Statement of that company dated March 31, 2003 showed that respondent No. 8 had made a loan to the company to the tune of Pounds Sterling 307,761 with a balance of Pounds Sterling 990,244 to his credit. The Financial Statement of that company dated March 31, 2004 manifested that respondent No. 8 had made a loan to the company amounting to Pounds Sterling 593,939 with a balance of Pounds Sterling 1,606,771 to his credit. The Financial Statement of that company dated March 31, 2005 showed that respondent No. 8 had again made a huge loan to the company with a balance of Pounds Sterling 1,418,321 to his credit. There was another British company by the name of Que Holdings Limited and respondent No. 8 namely Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif had 100% holding in that company. The Notes of Account of that company dated July 31, 2004 showed that respondent No. 8 had made a loan to the company to the tune of Pounds Sterling 99,999 and the Financial Statement of that company dated July 31, 2005 showed that respondent No. 8 had made a loan to the company to the tune of Pounds Sterling 541,694. A chart appended with one of these petitions shows that respondent No. 8 had about ten companies in England before the year 2006 and the credit contributed by him to those companies amounted to Pounds Sterling 2,351,877. In her Separate Concise Statement (Civil Miscellaneous Application No. 394 of 2017 filed on January 24, 2017) respondent No. 6 had maintained that respondent No. 7 was operating Coomber Group Inc. Company for various business ventures of respondent No. 8. All those businesses of respondent No. 8 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, 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.

 

90.       It is of significance to mention here that in his speeches made before the nation and in the National Assembly respondent No. 1 had never stated in black and white that he had nothing to do with ownership of the two offshore companies or the relevant properties in London. However, in his concise statements submitted by respondent No. 1 before this Court it had been so asserted and his learned counsel argued before us with vehemence that the said respondent was neither a Director, share holder or a beneficial owner of the relevant offshore companies nor had he any connection with ownership of the relevant properties. I note that the varying assertions of the children of respondent No. 1 regarding the said companies and properties have remained without any support from any record of those companies and properties. No record has been produced by them to establish that Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif had become the owner of those companies and properties in the year 2006. The source of funds for payment of about 34 million US Dollars in the year 2000 for lifting of the charge on the relevant four properties in London upon satisfaction of a judicial decree had not been explained by them or even by respondent No. 1 till belated filing of another statement of the gentleman from Qatar which shall be discussed a little later. No explanation had been offered as to why such a huge amount had been paid by or on behalf of some of the respondents and their relatives for lifting of the charge on those properties if they had nothing to do with the ownership of the said properties. It had never been explained before us till belated filing of the second statement of the gentleman from Qatar as to how Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif who was a student in the year 1999 suddenly started rolling in money in England in the year 2001. No money trail or record of any banking transaction was placed on the record of this case by respondent No. 1 and his children. The inconsistencies and gaps between the stands adopted by respondent No. 1 and his children have remained unexplained and unfilled and the chains of events stated by them have remained clearly broken. Respondent No. 1 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 and that such explanations cannot be termed as honest.

 

91.       It has already been observed by me above that in his speeches made before the nation and in the National Assembly respondent No. 1 had never stated in black and white that he had nothing to do with ownership of the two offshore companies or the relevant properties in London. In his speeches and the concise statements respondent No. 1 had also failed to take a specific and categorical stand that his children, or one of them, had acquired those properties through their/his own funds. Nothing has been produced before this Court to show or establish that respondent No. 1’s children, or any of them, were/was in a position to purchase the said expensive properties in the year 2006 as no proof whatsoever has been produced about their businesses or financial conditions at that stage. If Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif had started doing business in England in the year 2001 with undisclosed sources of income then he could have claimed that it was with his financial support that his brother Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif had purchased the relevant properties in London in the year 2006 but that was never the stand taken by Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif, Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif or even respondent No. 1. In his above mentioned interview dated March 07, 2016 Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif had stated that “I have three offshore companies in London” and “I admit that the apartments in Park Lane are ours.” In other words he had admitted that the offshore companies owning the relevant properties might have been owned in his name but the said properties belonged to the family! The Guardian, London had quoted respondent No. 1’s lady wife namely Mrs. Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif on April 10, 2000 as saying that the relevant properties in London had been “bought” because her children were studying in England at that time. The explanation advanced by respondent No. 1’s children that the said properties had been acquired from the proceeds of a settlement of real estate business in Qatar was not an explanation advanced by respondent No. 1 and the sole basis of that explanation was a statement of a gentleman from Qatar which statement was, as discussed earlier, nothing but an apology of an explanation. Apart from that all the explanations put forward by respondent No. 1 and his children, even if accepted at their face value, show that all the funds of the family in Dubai, Jeddah and Qatar belonged to respondent No. 1’s father namely Mian Muhammad Sharif who had passed away in the year 2004. If that were so then all his assets and funds would have automatically devolved upon his heirs including respondent No. 1 and if the properties in London had been acquired through those assets and funds in the year 2006 then the said assets and funds included respondent No. 1’s share of inheritance and such share had contributed towards acquisition of the properties in London. No will of Mian Muhammad Sharif has been brought on the record by respondent No. 1 and his children to show as to why and how the entire proceeds of the stated settlement of real estate business of late Mian Muhammad Sharif in Qatar had been handed over to his grandson who was not his heir and all the heirs of the deceased had been deprived of such proceeds. The family settlement qua inheritance of late Mian Muhammad Sharif had come about in the year 2009. There was, thus, a real likelihood that the relevant properties in London had actually been purchased or acquired by respondent No. 1 but ownership of the same had been shown in the name of one of his sons namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif and that respondent No. 1 has not been honest in his oscillating and vacillating explanations advanced in that respect at different stages.

 

92.       When the above mentioned issues were highlighted by the Court during the hearing of these petitions there landed another statement of the same gentleman from Qatar and this time he had the following to tell the Court: 

 

Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani

 

22 December 2016

 

It has come to my attention that certain queries have been raised with respect to my statement dated 5 November 2016.

 

In response to such queries, I wish to clarify that in 1980, Mr. Mian Muhammad Sharif (Mr. Sharif), a longstanding and trusted business partner of my father, made an investment (the Investment) of approximately twelve million AED in the real estate business of the Al-Thani family. This investment was made by way of provision of cash, which was common practice in the Gulf region at the time of the investment and also, given the longstanding relationship between my father and Mr. Sharif, a customary way for them to do business as between themselves.

 

At the end of 2005, after reconciling all accruals and other distributions made over the term of the investment, it was agreed that an amount of approximately $ 8,000,000 was due to Mr. Sharif. In accordance with Mr. Sharif’s wishes, the amount due to him was settled in 2006 by way of the delivery to Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif’s representative of bearer shares of Nescoll Limited and Nielsen Enterprises Limited, which had been kept during that time in Qatar.

 

This statement is private and confidential; it cannot be used or disclosed to any party without my prior written consent, except to the benefit of the courts and regulators of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

(signed)

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

 

Signature of H. E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani is ATTESTED.

(signed) 10th January 2017.

(Shahzad Ahmad)

Ambassador of Pakistan

Doha-Qatar

(seal)”

 

It is noteworthy that both the statements of the gentleman from Qatar produced before this Court talked about longstanding business relations and partnership between the said gentleman’s father and the father of respondent No. 1 which relationship and partnership existed even prior to the investment made by respondent No. 1’s father in Qatar in the year 1980 after sale of the factory in Dubai. No details of the previous business dealings have been provided to this Court and, therefore, it is not clear as to where such business was conducted, any money for such business was generated out of Pakistan or money for such business was laundered from Pakistan through illegal means or unofficial channels.

 

93.       The first statement of the gentleman from Qatar showed that the final settlement of the investment made by Mian Muhammad Sharif took place with Al-Thani family and not with Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani and the said gentleman did not claim to be the person dealing with the matter of the settlement personally and he was not the one who had handed over the bearer share certificates of the two offshore companies owning the relevant properties in London personally to anybody. In both the statements of that gentleman it had not been disclosed as to how 12 million Dirhams had been delivered to the gentleman’s father on behalf of respondent No. 1’s father and who was the representative of respondent No. 7 who had received the bearer share certificates of the two offshore companies. In the first affidavit of Mr. Tariq Shafi dated November 12, 2016 Qatar was not mentioned at all despite the fact that by that time the first statement of the gentleman from Qatar was already available but in his second affidavit sworn on January 20, 2017 and placed before the Court subsequently Mr. Tariq Shafi maintained as follows:

 

“3.          That the sum of UAE Dirhams twelve million was deposited by me in cash with Mr. Fahad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani of Qatar after receipt of each installment from Mr. Muhammad Abdullah Kayed Ahli. This deposit was made by me on the instructions of my uncle, late Mian Muhammad Sharif.

4.             That at that time Mr. Fahad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani was frequently present in Dubai in connection with his business activities and received the net aggregate cash payment of UAE Dirhams twelve millions from me in Dubai.”

 

No independent proof has, however, been produced before this Court in this regard, no statement of Mr. Fahad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani has been brought on the record and we have found it hard to believe that a sum of 12 million Dirhams in cash had been handed over to another without obtaining any receipt or keeping any record. Through filing of a Joint Further Statement by respondents No. 7 and 8 the Court was informed that one Waqar Ahmad had collected the bearer share certificates from one Nasir Khamis in London in January 2006 for their delivery to respondent No. 7 but no independent proof in that regard has been produced before this Court either.

 

94.       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!

 

95.       In all his relevant speeches or his concise statements filed before this Court respondent No. 1 never mentioned Qatar or any investment made by the family in that country. The first statement of the gentleman from Qatar is dated November 05, 2016 but in their Joint Concise Statement filed by respondent No. 1’s three children on November 07, 2016 they did not mention Qatar or any investment made by their elders in Qatar at all. Even in all the above mentioned interviews given by respondent No. 1’s lady wife and children Qatar or any family investment in that country had failed to find any mention. It was at a later stage that Qatar and the family investment in that country suddenly emerged on the scene and respondent No. 1’s children then adopted that as the only source through which the relevant properties in London had been acquired. If that story is correct then the investment in Qatar was made when respondent No. 1’s children were toddlers, or at best minors, and they remembered about that investment but unfortunately respondent No. 1 had completely forgotten about the same and he still continues to do so! Such loss of memory, and that too about the most crucial aspect of the present case, cannot be presumed by the Court and it, therefore, appears that respondent No. 1 has deliberately suppressed the relevant facts or he has conveniently allowed himself to go along with a false story advanced by his children. Apart from that the alternate story about “purchase” of the relevant properties in London propounded by him, which runs completely contrary to the story about acquisition of the said properties on the basis of a settlement of the business in Qatar, had not been substantiated by respondent No. 1 through any tangible material. He has failed to produce anything before this Court as to how money was generated and transferred to Dubai for setting up a factory there, where were the proceeds of sale of the factory in Dubai kept or utilized between the years 1980 and 2000, how was the money generated and transferred to Jeddah for setting up a factory there and then how the proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah were transferred to London for “purchase” of the relevant properties there. No banking transaction and no money trail has been referred to or established by him. Respondent No. 1 is our elected representative and our Prime Minister and we expected him to take us into confidence in the above mentioned matters so that he could come out clean in the matter but unfortunately he has done nothing before us so as to clear his name or confirm his probity. Apart from that when a court of law requires a person to explain his position in respect of something, particularly when he had himself repeatedly volunteered to explain his position before any court or forum inquiring into the same, his silence before the court or adopting an evasive approach reflects adversely upon his bona fide and honesty in the matter. 

 

96.       In two of his speeches respondent No. 1 had talked about setting up of a factory in Jeddah but the sources of funds for that venture had also remained an enigma and the following chart highlights the same:

 

Respondents

Medium

Stance

Problems

 

Respondent No. 1:

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif

 

Address to the nation:

April 05, 2016

 

During the days of forced exile our father once again established a steel factory near the city of Makkah.

 

This factory was established for which loans were obtained from Saudi banks.

 

 

* Sale of the factory in Dubai was not mentioned in that speech the proceeds of which were apparently used in establishment of the factory in Jeddah.

 

* Loan from friends not mentioned by respondent No. 1 as mentioned by respondent No. 7 in his interviews on January 19, 2016 and March 7, 2016.

 

 

Speech in the National Assembly:

May 16, 2016

 

In exile our father once again established a steel factory in Jeddah. Among the primary source of funds which helped in establishing that factory was the funds received from the sale of the factory in Dubai.

 

 

* Mentioned funds from sale of the factory in Dubai which funds were not mentioned in the earlier address to the nation.

 

Respondent No. 7:

Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif

 

Interview on Capital Talk, Geo News television:

January 19, 2016

 

“Our good old friends gave us loan, which was later paid off”.

 

* Did not mention the settlement of investment in Qatar as the source of funds for setting up the factory in Jeddah as was subsequently disclosed through the worksheet from Qatar.

 

 

Interview on Kal Tak, Express News television:

March 7, 2016

 

“We were given loans by friends and Saudi banks.”

 

“Their loans have been returned.”

 

“Personal friends gave us loans. Those have been paid back before the agreed time”.

 

* Did not mention the returns from 12 million Dirham investment in Qatar as the source of funds for setting up the factory in Jeddah.

 

* Stance clearly showed that loans were obtained from friends which were paid back.

 

* Money given by Al-Thani family was not loans. If loans were obtained from friends and were returned then the story about settlement of investment in Qatar and some part of it being adjusted for setting up a factory in Jeddah was false.

 

 

Joint Concise Statement (CMA No. 3719 of 2016)

 

 

No stance taken regarding the source of funds for setting up the factory in Jeddah.

 

 

 

Joint Supplement-ary Concise Statement filed by respondents No. 6, 7 and 8 (CMA No. 7531 of 2016) on

November 15, 2016

 

No stance taken regarding the source of funds for setting up the factory in Jeddah.

 

* In this concise statement the investment in Qatar was introduced for the first time but there was no mention of any money received from the investment in Qatar having been utilized for setting up the factory in Jeddah.

 

* In the subsequent CMA No. 432 of 2017 it was maintained by respondents No. 7 and 8 that in 2005 respondent No. 7 was told that the money he received for setting up the factory in Jeddah was from returns of the investment in Qatar!

 

 

Further Statement filed by respondents No. 7 and 8

(CMA No. 432 of 2017) on

January 23, 2017

 

“7. That over the period 2001 to 2003 the late Grandfather of Respondent no. 7 arranged for the benefit of Respondent No. 7 US dollars 5.41 million for investing in the setting up of Al Azizia Steel Company Limited. These transfer of funds were caused by the Al-Thani family on the request of Respondent No. 7’s grandfather Mian Muhammad Sharif. This fact was stated to Respondent No. 7 by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani’s representative, Nasir Khamis, at the time of an overall settlement in late 2005. The equity caused to be injected by the Late Mian Muhammad Sharif, along with borrowings from financial institutions, was utilized for the setting up of the aforesaid steel manufacturing plant near Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

 

 

* This source contradicted respondent No. 7’s interviews wherein he mentioned the source of funds for setting up the factory in Jeddah as loans from friends and Saudi banks.

 

* This source was not mentioned in the initial concise statement (CMA No. 3719 of 2016).

 

* It is incredible that respondent No. 7 was said to have set up the factory in Jeddah but for many years after setting up the factory he did not know where the funds for setting up that factory had come from until he was told about it by one Nasir Khamis in 2005!

 

* The worksheet about the investment in Qatar and disbursement of the relevant amounts showed that the funds for setting up the factory in Jeddah had been transferred directly in favour of respondent No. 7 in his own name.

 

* It is unbelievable that respondent No. 7’s father (respondent No. 1) or his grandfather did not tell him about those funds but one Nasir Khamis of Qatar told him about it in 2005.

 

* This information about the source of funds for setting up the factory in Jeddah was available with respondent No. 7 when he gave the above mentioned interviews but he did not mention it even then.

 

* According to the interviews given by respondent No. 7 the funds for setting up the factory in Jeddah had come from Saudi banks and loans given by friends whereas in his speech in the National Assembly respondent No. 1 had maintained that the basic investment for setting up the factory in Jeddah came from proceeds of sale of the factory in Dubai.

 

 

A bare look at this chart makes one wonder where truth and honesty stand in the list of priorities of respondent No. 1 and his children. The most unbelievable part of the story about setting up of the factory in Jeddah is told through the second statement of the gentleman from Qatar dated December 22, 2016 wherein it is maintained that between the years 2001 and 2003 Al-Thani family of Qatar had transferred 5.41 million US Dollars in favour of respondent No. 7 for investing in setting up a factory in Jeddah and that information was supplied to respondent No. 7 by one Nasir Khamis, a representative of Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani, at the time of over all settlement of the investment at the end of the year 2005. The said story wants this Court to believe that respondent No. 7 was given a huge sum of 5.41 million US Dollars between the years 2001 and 2003 but he was told about it in the year 2005! As against that in one of his interviews given much later than 2005 respondent No. 7 had maintained that loans had been obtained from friends and banks for setting up the factory in Jeddah which loans had then been repaid before the time due. We have also been told that the said factory in Jeddah had been sold in the year 2005 and it had fetched 20,630,000 Riyals (about 17 million US Dollars) but no banking transaction or money trail in that regard has been produced before this Court showing from where did that money come and then where did it go.

 

97.       Invoking the concept of parliamentary privilege the learned counsel for respondent No. 1 had argued that the said respondent could not be held liable for anything said by him in a speech made in the National Assembly on May 16, 2016 and in this context he relied upon Article 66(1) of the Constitution which reads as under:

 

“66.        (1) Subject to the Constitution and to the rules of procedure of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), there shall be freedom of speech in Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and no member shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)  of any report, paper, votes or proceedings.”

 

He maintained that the historical and universally acknowledged parliamentary privilege recognized by the said Article of the Constitution is subject only to two provisions of the Constitution and they are Article 68 and Article 204 which deal with restriction on discussion in the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) with respect to conduct of a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties and commission of contempt of court. I have, however, found that for various reasons the issue of parliamentary privilege is not relevant to the case in hand. To start with, the relevant speech made by respondent No. 1 was not just a speech made in the National Assembly but it was also an address to the nation because of live radio and television coverage of it. It is not denied that at least four or five microphones of different television companies including the official Pakistan Television were placed on the desk of respondent No. 1 and a television camera was placed right in front of him when he had made that speech and that speech was broadcast and telecast live on the national hookup. Apart from that by making that speech respondent No. 1 had merely utilized the floor of the National Assembly for advancing a personal explanation regarding a matter which was not even on the agenda of the National Assembly on the relevant day and was personal to himself and his family. This Court in the cases of Zahur Ilahi, M.N.A. v. Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (PLD 1975 SC 383) and Syed Masroor Ahsan and others v. Ardeshir Cowasjee and others (PLD 1998 SC 823) and the United Kingdom Supreme Court in the case of Regina v. Chaytor (2011 UKSC 52), [2011] 1 A.C. 684 SC-UK have already clarified that parliamentary privilege is relevant to “the core or essential business of Parliament, which consists of collective deliberation and decision making” or “which relates in any way to the legislative or deliberative processes” of the Parliament “or of its Members, however widely construed” and parliamentary privilege does not protect criminal acts merely because such acts are committed within the precincts of the Parliament. The argument of the learned counsel for respondent No. 1 that the parliamentary privilege recognized by Article 66(1) of the Constitution is subject only to Articles 68 and 204 of the Constitution has not been found by me to be correct because Article 66(1) is subject to all the other provisions of the Constitution and not just the two provisions indicated by the learned counsel. In an appropriate case it may be argued that Article 66(1) of the Constitution is also subject to Article 62(1)(f) thereof requiring a member of the Parliament to be ‘honest’ in everything stated by him in the Parliament and there being no parliamentary privilege in respect of stating something which is untrue. It had been held by this Court in the case of Syed Masroor Ahsan and others v. Ardeshir Cowasjee and others (PLD 1998 SC 823) that parliamentary privilege under Art 66 of the Constitution was not absolute and exceptions to the same existed. It was also held in that case that no immunity or privilege existed against criminal, illegal or unconstitutional acts committed in the Parliament. It is also pertinent to note that the parliamentary privilege under Article 66(1) of the Constitution is in respect of liability to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said in the Parliament but in the present case the speech made by respondent No. 1 is not the basis of any liability to any proceeding in a court and that speech is being referred to in the present proceedings only as a circumstance in a series of circumstances showing lack of honesty of the said respondent before the nation, before the representatives of the nation in the National Assembly and before this Court. Surely, respondent No. 1 is not being proceeded against for making that speech and the said speech is being utilized in the present proceedings only for a collateral purpose to determine as to whether the said respondent had been making divergent statements on the same issue at different occasions or not and as to whether he had been honest in the matter or not. It had been held in the case of Buchanan v. Jennings [2005] 1 A.C. 115, [2004] UKPC 36, [2005] 2 All ER 273 (Privy Council) that a speech in the Parliament could be used to establish some fact as evidence rather than making it the basis of the proceedings.

 

98.       The matter of payment of about 34 million US Dollars to Al-Towfeek Company towards satisfaction of the decree in London, mentioned above, is equally bizarre. In his Supplementary Concise Statement respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif had maintained that he was informed by a representative of Al-Thani family of Qatar that 8 million US Dollars had been paid by that family to Al-Towfeek Company in the year 2002 for satisfaction of the relevant decree and he was further informed that the said payment had been made on the instructions of Mian Muhammad Sharif. No record of such payment has been produced before this Court and even the person informing respondent No. 7 in that regard has not been identified. Both the statements of the gentleman from Qatar produced before this Court had failed even to refer to any such payment of 8 million US Dollars by Al-Thani family of Qatar towards satisfaction of the decree in London through which the relevant four properties in London, which were in occupation of respondent No. 1 and his family at that time, were got released from the caution placed on them. Apart from that the decree was for about 34 million US Dollars but it was maintained that the decree was satisfied by paying Al-Towfeek Company only 8 million US Dollars. No documentary proof was produced before us to show as to how much amount was actually paid and who paid it. No record of the concerned court was produced and it was not shown what mode or channel was utilized for making the payment.

 

99.       The bottom line is that according to the sons of respondent No. 1, as is evident from the their Joint Further Statement (Civil Miscellaneous Application No. 432 of 2017 filed on January 23, 2017) the 12 million Dirhams “placed” with Al-Thani family of Qatar by their grandfather late Mian Muhammad Sharif and “retained” by that family (which was no longer called by the sons of respondent No. 1 as an “investment” in real estate business in Qatar) were utilized in the following manner till the time that chapter was finally closed and wound up in the year 2005:

 

(i)         8 million US Dollars paid by Al-Thani family to Al-Towfeek Company in the year 2002 towards satisfaction of the decree in London,

 

(ii)        5.4 million US Dollars given to respondent No. 7 for setting up a factory in Jeddah between 2001 and 2004,

 

(iii)       4.2 million US Dollars given to respondent No. 8 for setting up his business in the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2004 and

 

(iv)       the remaining about 8 million US Dollars adjusted and settled by delivering bearer share certificates to a representative of respondent No. 7 and thereby transferring ownership of the two offshore companies and the relevant four properties in London in favour of respondent No. 7.

 

And what was the evidence produced before this Court in respect of all those millions of US Dollars rolling around? It is amazing and unbelievable. The following two handwritten documents were all that had been produced before this Court in support of all those transactions:

 

 

                                        

We have been told that the last of the said documents is a worksheet which reads in English language as follows:

 

 

Nothing has been produced before this Court to establish or even indicate as to who had prepared those documents, where those documents were kept, what was the authenticity of those documents, how the relevant amounts were disbursed and by whom. The said documents are not backed by any banking transaction and no money trail has even been hinted at. 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. 

 

100.     Money laundering is an allegation which is not new to respondent No. 1 and his close relative respondent No. 10. The learned counsel for the petitioners had drawn our attention towards a very detailed and documented report prepared and submitted by Mr. A. Rehman Malik in September 1998 in his capacity as an Additional Director, Federal Investigation Agency, Islamabad and that report tended to establish the money trail through which the relevant four properties in London and many other properties and businesses had been purchased or set up by respondent No. 1 in the names of his children through opening of fake and fictitious bank accounts, clandestine money transfers amounting to money laundering and use of huge unaccounted for money. According to that report all that had happened in the 1990s and much prior to sale of the factory in Jeddah in June 2005 and the claimed settlement of the real estate business in Qatar in the year 2005. Almost all the transactions mentioned in that report were supported by the names of the concerned banks, the numbers of bank accounts, the numbers of the cheques issued and the origin and the destination of the money transferred. I understand that a lot of effort must have gone into digging out the relevant details and a lot of resources of the State must have been consumed in the entire exercise. I have, however, felt agonized by the fact that the matter had later on been hushed up, brushed under the carpet and never pursued by any quarter with the result that the facts asserted in that report could not be ascertained or verified by any court of competent jurisdiction. I have, therefore, abstained from referring to the contents of that report or from relying upon that report in the present proceedings. We have been informed that the same Mr. A. Rehman Malik who had prepared the above mentioned report had later on joined politics and had served the country as the Minister for Interior, Government of Pakistan for many years but he never took any step to pursue the matter against respondents No. 1 and 10 at all. It appears that politics had trumped accountability and discretion had the better of public interest.

 

101.     Respondent No. 1’s 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 and others had indulged in serious corruption and money laundering, etc. Those Challans had been quashed later on at a time when respondent No. 1 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 and others with the allegations of corruption and money laundering, etc. but even that Reference was quashed during the incumbency of respondent No. 1 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 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 Anti-Terrorism 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. In the case of Air Marshal (Retd.) Muhammad Asghar Khan v. General (Retd.) Mirza Aslam Baig, Former Chief of Army Staff and others (PLD 2013 SC 1) a declaration was recorded by this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution to the effect that corruption and corrupt practices had been committed in the holding of a general election in the country and in the judgment passed in that case respondent No. 1’s stated involvement in the matter had been referred to twice in that context and the matter of criminality of respondent No. 1 and others in that connection was required to be investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency. Unfortunately no investigation in that matter has so far been conducted for obvious reasons. In the case of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif v. The State (PLD 2010 Lahore 81) respondent No. 1 had been convicted and sentenced by an Accountability Court on July 22, 2000 but subsequently his conviction and sentence had been set aside by the Lahore High Court on June 26, 2009. In that case the allegation was that in October 1993 respondent No. 1 had purchased a helicopter and had used and maintained the same for his election campaign whereas the costs and maintenance expenses incurred by respondent No. 1 were beyond his known sources of income. Respondent No. 1 had been acquitted in that case because it had been shown that the helicopter was actually purchased by one Abdul Rehman Bin Nasir Al-Thani of Qatar. The said gentleman from Al-Thani family of Qatar is statedly a close relative of Mr. Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani whose two statements have been produced before this Court in the present proceedings in support of respondent No. 1 and his children. 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 and the same is reproduced below without making any comment of my own on the same:

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamad_bin_Jassim_bin_Jaber_Al_Thani)

 

“Legal issues

 

BAE Systems

Following courting by Michael Portillo, Qatar entered into an arms deal worth £500 million with BAE Systems.[15] £7 million was transferred into two trusts in Jersey of which Hamad was named as a beneficiary. In an attempt to prevent money laundering, the funds were frozen from 16 July 2000 by the Jersey Financial Services Commission, who then began a court case and investigation.[14] Hamad paid the Jersey authorities £6 million as a "voluntary reparation" as "the structures put in place by his advisers may have contributed to the cost and complexity of the inquiry." The case was then dropped by the Jersey authorities.[5]

 

Fawaz Al-Attiya

HBJ is facing a lawsuit brought on by Fawaz Al-Attiya, former official spokesman for Qatar, who says that agents acting on behalf of HBJ imprisoned and tortured him in Doha for 15 months from 2009-2011. Al-Attiya says that he was kept in solitary confinement, only let out of handcuffs to be interrogated, subjected to sleep deprivation, and denied proper access to food, water, and sunlight.[16] Al-Attiya also alleged that he was not adequately compensated for his Qatari land that was expropriated by the state.[17] Documents submitted by Al-Attiya’s lawyers state that in 1997, HBJ offered to buy 20,000 square meters of land from Al-Attiya in west Doha. Al-Attiya says that he refused the offer because he felt that the land was worth more than HBJ’s offer, a move that angered HBJ. He alleges that HBJ then seized the land and subjected Al-Attiya to “increasing harassment, threats, and surveillance”. A decade later in 2007, HBJ allegedly tried to have Al-Attiya arrested in Dubai. Al-Attiya then moved to Saudi Arabia in 2008 when a series of legal cases were filed against him, including one that alleged that he leaked state secrets during his tenure serving in public office. Court documents state that Al-Attiya was “forcibly taken from Saudi Arabia to Qatar” in October 2009. From then until January 2011, Al-Attiya was held in various prisons around Qatar. Attiya was told by Qatar’s assistant attorney during this time that “he was being detained at the behest of the prime minister (Hamad bin Jassim), that there was no intention to release him and that any attempt to secure release through securing a court order…would either be prevented or any such order would not be carried out”. Attiya was ultimately released on orders of the crown prince.[5]

After his release, HBJ filed another case against Attiya claiming that he had forged a check worth 3 million riyals and as a result owed money to Qatar National Bank. This case was also dropped due to intervention by the crown prince.[16]

HBJ denies all claims against him in regards to Fawaz Al-Attiya and says that he has diplomatic immunity and state immunity given his diplomatic position in London, leaving London’s High Court without jurisdiction. No decision has been made yet as to whether his diplomatic immunity will extend to this case.[16][18]

 

Heritage Oil

In June 2014, HBJ acquired 80% of Heritage Oil, which was listed as a London exploration and production company. At the same time, he was listed as a “Counsellor” at the Qatari embassy and as such was privileged to legal immunity under the 1961 Vienna Convention. Article 42 of this convention states that “a diplomat shall not in the receiving State practise for personal profit any professional or commercial activity” thereby disallowing the acquisition in which HBJ engaged. The stake, valued at £924 million and dated April 30, 2014, transferred to a “wholly owned subsidiary” of Al-Mirqab Capital, an investment company privately owned by HBJ and his family. HBJ’s lawyers maintain that the fact that the company was listed in London is not sufficient evidence to determine that Article 42 had been violated.[19]

 

Controversies

A May 2008 diplomatic cable sent by then U.S. chargé d'affaires in Doha, alluded to a dispute between HBJ and the Qatari intelligence officials over a Qatari senior bank official imprisoned for 6 months over his role in funding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the al-Qaeda mastermind of September 11. The senior bank official was Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy who financed KSM while working at Qatar Central Bank.[14]

In November 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister produced a letter from Hamad Bin Jassim to claim that the properties identified as owned by his daughter in Panama Leaks are actually are result of a settlement that happened in 2006. The letter was mostly based on hearsay and soon after the first letter second letter was produced which tried to cover up holes left in the first letter. The properties were purchased by Sharif family from 1992-1996 through off shore companies Nescoll and Nielson. The beneficial owner of those four flats is Maryam Safdar (daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) according to leaked Panama papers. If the court calls Hamad Bin Jassim to stand as the witness to prove the worth of his letter, he could be sent to prison for lying. Pakistan is a poor country but will definitely imprison frauds who could help making black money white. It is alleged that Hamad bin Jassim's companies got lucrative LNG deal worth Billions of dollars with Pakistan through his connection with Nawaz Sharif.”

 

102.     While dwelling on the issue of money laundering I may observe that it was argued before us by the learned counsel for the petitioners that a number of so-called gifts made by respondent No. 7 namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif to his father also hinted at concealment of assets, rotation of money and money laundering by respondent No. 1 and his family. The uncontested record produced before us showed that respondent No. 7 had sent the following amounts of money from Saudi Arabia to respondent No. 1 as gifts:            

Tax year 2011:            Rs. 129,836,905

Tax year 2012:            Rs.   26,610,800

Tax year 2013:            Rs. 190,445,024

Tax year 2014:            Rs. 197,499,348

Total:               Rs. 544,392,077

 

Respondent No. 7 had claimed before us that he had sold the factory in Jeddah in the year 2005 and initially he had not disclosed that he had another factory in Saudi Arabia by the name of Hill Metals and it was through the income generated from that factory that he was sending gifts to his father. Respondent No. 1 and the gentleman from Qatar had never stated that the money for setting up that factory had been provided to respondent No. 7 by them and respondent No. 7 never disclosed before us as to how that factory was set up or purchased by him and when. It had not even been disclosed or established that the said factory was actually owned by him or not. In their Joint Further Statement (Civil Miscellaneous Application No. 432 of 2017 filed on January 23, 2017) respondents No. 7 and 8 had maintained that in the year 2006 respondent No. 7 had set up a new steel manufacturing business in Jeddah by utilizing proceeds of sale of the earlier factory in Jeddah. Respondent No. 1 had, however, maintained in his speech in the National Assembly that the proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah had been utilized for “purchase” of the relevant properties in London! In one of his interviews mentioned above respondent No. 7 had categorically stated that the proceeds of sale of the factory in Jeddah had been “officially transferred” to London for purchase of the relevant properties in that city. Even when considered in the context of the claimed investment in Qatar and its settlement in the year 2006 the new factory in Jeddah did not stand explained because, according to the family of respondent No. 1, the adjusted remaining amount of 3.2 million US Dollars was settled with Al-Thani family in the year 2006 through transfer of ownership of the two offshore companies and the relevant properties in London in favour of respondent No. 7. With that claimed final settlement of the investment in Qatar no money was left in that folder to be utilized for setting up a new factory in Jeddah by the name of Hill Metals! One thing is, however, quite clear that the money received by respondent No. 1 through the earnings from that factory make respondent No. 1 a beneficiary of that business. It could well be that the said factory in Saudi Arabia belongs to respondent No. 1, respondent No. 7 runs that factory on behalf of respondent No. 1 and through respondent No. 7 the income generated by that business is periodically sent to respondent No. 1 in the shape of gifts. There has been no disclosure about that asset or business before this Court and, like many other assets and businesses worth millions of US Dollars mentioned above, the said asset or business also stands unaccounted for. 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.  

 

103.     The record produced before the Court also discloses another pattern showing that crores of Rupees in cash are sent from Saudi Arabia by a son (respondent No. 7) to his father (respondent No. 1), the father purchases landed property in the name of his daughter (respondent No. 6), some money is gifted by the father to the daughter and then the daughter pays the father the amount spent by him on such purchases and becomes owner of such property in her own right. According to the record an amount of Rs. 24,851,526 had been paid by the daughter (respondent No. 6) to her father (respondent No. 1) out of the money gifted by the father to the daughter by following the same pattern! The pattern may be mindboggling to some but we are told that those versed well with taxation laws know of such ways of rotating money and in the process whitening money which may otherwise be black. In the above mentioned report prepared by Mr. A. Rehman Malik of the Federal Investigation Agency some specified persons had actually been named and some evidence in that regard had been mentioned establishing how through Havala/Hundi some unaccounted for money available with respondent No. 1 was siphoned off abroad and then the same money was brought back to the country as white money through gifts.

 

104.     At every stage of the hearing of these petitions the question regarding onus of proof kept on recurring before the Court. According to the learned counsel for the petitioners the initial onus on the petitioners had been discharged by them through producing sufficient material to show that the relevant four properties in London were owned by respondent No. 1’s family, the said respondent and his family acknowledged ownership and possession of those properties, the children of the said respondent did not possess sufficient means of their own to acquire the said properties at the relevant time and respondent No. 1 and his family had failed to account for the funds utilized for acquisition of such properties which factors had shifted the onus of proof to respondent No. 1 and his family requiring them to account for the relevant acquisitions to the satisfaction of the Court and to establish that respondent No. 1 had been honest in his explanations advanced in that regard before the nation, the National Assembly and this Court. As against that the learned counsel for respondents No. 1, 6, 7 and 8 had maintained that the allegations leveled against the said respondents were essentially of quasi criminal nature and, therefore, the onus was always upon the petitioners to establish their allegations before the Court through positive and admissible evidence and it was not for the said respondents to disprove those allegations. I have attended to this controversy with reference to the relevant statutory provisions and a brief reference to such provisions is being made in the following paragraphs.

 

105.     The present case brought before this Court by invoking Article 184(3) of the Constitution is not a case of a civil wrong or of commission of a criminal offence but it is essentially a case of a constitutional qualification for and disqualification from becoming or remaining a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) mainly on the ground of lack of honesty on the part of respondent No. 1. Proceedings of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution are essentially civil in nature. The allegations leveled by the petitioners are largely based upon some material disclosed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which material had been put to respondents No. 1, 6, 7 and 8 by ICIJ before it was made public and the said respondents had failed to rebut or even contest the same at that stage. The material so disclosed did have a tendency to incriminate those respondents and to raise serious questions qua their honesty and integrity. In their private capacities the petitioners had no means to inquire into or investigate the matter or to penetrate the multiple veils of offshore companies. Like the ICIJ the petitioners have acted in the matter as whistleblowers. Because of respondent No. 1 being the Prime Minister of the country and the Chief Executive of the Federation besides being the appointing authority of the heads of all the relevant institutions tasked to inquire into, investigate or prosecute such matters nobody even initiated any inquiry or investigation against respondent No. 1 and his children in respect of the allegations leveled. The initial onus of proof on the petitioners stood discharged when the relevant respondents admitted their possession and ownership of the relevant properties in London. Thereafter it was for the said respondents to account for those properties. Respondent No. 1 and his children had the special knowledge of all the relevant facts and only they could bring on the record material establishing their bona fide in the matter. In view of the factors discussed in the preceding paragraphs there was a lot of explaining to be done by respondent No. 1 and his children and, therefore, the onus of proof had indeed shifted to them. We have been guided in this respect by the following statutory provisions relating to corruption and corrupt practices and the jurisprudence developed on the subject in this country:

 

Section 5-C of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947:

 

“5-C.      Possession of property disproportionate to known sources of income.-

 

(1)           Any public servant who has in his possession any property, movable or immovable either in his own name or in the name of any other person, which there is reason to believe to have been acquired by improper means and which is proved to be disproportionate to the known sources of income of such public servant shall, if he fails to account for such possession to the satisfaction of the Court trying him, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and with fine, and on such conviction the property found to be disproportionate to the known sources of income of the accused by the Court shall be forfeited to the Provincial Government.

 

(2)           The reference in subsection (1) to property acquired by improper means shall be construed as a reference to property acquired by means which are contrary to law or to any rule or instrument having the force of law or by coercion, undue influence, fraud or misrepresentation within the meaning of the Contract Act, 1872.”

           

Section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999:

 

“A holder of a public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices:-

---------------------

(v)           if he or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses, or has acquired right or title in any assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for or maintains a standard of living beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income ---”

 

Section 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999:

 

“In any trial of an offence punishable under clause (v) of sub-section (a) of Section 9 of this Ordinance, the fact that the accused person or any other person on his behalf, is in possession for which the accused person cannot satisfactorily account, of assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, or that such person has, at or about the time of the commission of the offence with which he is charged, obtained an accretion to his pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account, the Court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that the accused person is guilty of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices and his conviction therefor shall not be invalid by reason only that it is based solely on such presumption.”

 

(underlining has been supplied for emphasis)

 

It is a fact not disputed in this case by any party that respondent No. 1 was, and he still is, a holder of a public office when he and his children came in possession of the relevant properties in London between the years 1993 and 1996 and they are still in admitted possession of those assets which are claimed to be owned by one of the children of respondent No. 1 since the year 2006. It is again an uncontroverted fact that at the time of taking over possession of the said properties all the children of respondent No. 1 were non-earning students and his wife was a household lady with no independent sources of income of their own and, thus, they were dependents of respondent No. 1 at that time. No other claimant to those assets has surfaced anywhere ever since. The issue of corruption and corrupt practices is essentially a criminal law issue but when it arises in the electoral context of a constitutional or statutory qualification or disqualification then such issue becomes a quasi criminal issue. When dealing with a quasi criminal issue it is impossible not to be guided in the matter by the broader principles applicable to the criminal law relating to corruption and corrupt practices which are inseparably linked with the issue of honesty of a person. As seen above, one of the basic features governing this field of the law is that where a public servant or a holder of a public office is in possession of an asset either directly or through his dependents or Benamidars then it is for him to account for that asset which is disproportionate to his known sources of income and a court dealing with the issue is to presume the absence of a satisfactory explanation.

 

106.     The law of evidence in vogue in the country is the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 and the following provisions of that law are quite relevant to the case in hand:

 

Article 122 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984:

 

“122.      Burden of proving fact especially within knowledge. When any fact is especially within the knowledge of any person the burden of proving that fact is upon him.

 

Illustrations

 

(a)                 ---------------------

 

(b)                 A is charged with traveling on a railway without a ticket. The burden of proving that he had a ticket is on him.”

 

Article 117 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984:

 

“117.      Burden of proof. (1)         Whoever desires any Court to give judgment as to any legal right or liability dependent on the existence of facts which he asserts, must prove that those facts exist.

 

(2)           When a person is bound to prove the existence of any fact, it is said that the burden of proof lies on that person.”

 

Article 129 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984:

 

“129.      Court may presume existence of certain facts.           The Court may presume the existence of any fact, which it thinks likely to have happened, regard being had to the common course of natural events, human conduct and public and private business, in their relation to the facts of the particular case.

 

Illustrations

 

                The Court may presume:

 

(a)           that a man who is in possession of stolen goods soon after the theft is either the thief or has received the goods knowing them to be stolen, unless he can account for his possession;”

 

Article 2(4), (7) and (8) of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984:

 

Definition of “proved”:

 

“(4)         A fact is said to be proved when, after considering the matters before it, the Court either believes it to exist, or considers its existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it exists.

 

---------------------

 

(7)           Whenever it is provided by this Order that this Court may presume a fact, it may either regard such fact as proved, unless and until it is disproved, or may call for proof of it.

 

(8)           Whenever it is directed by this Order that the Court shall presume a fact, it shall regard such fact as proved, unless and until it is disproved.”

 

The facts about generation and availability of the requisite funds for taking over or setting up the relevant offshore companies and acquisition of the relevant properties in London, about transfer of such funds to Panama or England, about the modes of payment, about how, when and from whom possession of the relevant properties was obtained and about who became the beneficial owner of the said properties were all especially within the knowledge of respondent No. 1 and his children and, thus, the burden of proving those facts was upon them (Article 122). Respondent No. 1 and his children have always maintained that the relevant properties had been acquired through lawful money generated and transferred through legitimate means and that the matter ought to be decided by a court of law before which they would establish their claim by producing all the relevant record which was in their possession. The burden of proof in that respect, therefore, lied on them (Article 117). Respondent No. 1 and his children admit being in possession of the relevant properties which are being alleged to have been acquired through corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. and, thus, a court may presume correctness of the allegations (Article 129) and it was for respondent No. 1 and his children to establish otherwise (Article 2(7) and (8)). Apart from that a finding by a court that a fact exists and stands proved is not always dependent upon direct or positive proof led by the parties in support of their rival claims and in an appropriate case even the circumstances of a given case may convince the court that a fact exists and stands proved, as is evident from the provisions of Article 2(4) of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 according to which “A fact is said to be proved when, after considering the matters before it, the Court either believes it to exist, or considers its existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it exists”. Instead of giving any straight answer the learned counsel for respondent No. 1 maintained before this Court that the said respondent had nothing to do with acquisition of the relevant properties in London and the Court should ask the said respondent’s children about those properties. The learned counsel for respondent No. 6 maintained that even that respondent had nothing to do with acquisition of the said properties and the Court should ask her brothers about the same. When the Court asked the learned counsel for respondents No. 7 and 8 about acquisition of the relevant properties he simply maintained that such a question could satisfactorily be answered only by the said respondents’ grandfather who had died in the year 2004! Upon receipt of such responses from the learned counsel for respondents No. 1, 6, 7 and 8 the Court had repeatedly observed that the ‘strategy’ adopted by the said respondents to conceal the relevant facts from the Court amounted to taking of a big ‘gamble’ because the onus to account for the relevant properties was on respondent No. 1 whose children were admittedly in possession of the said properties since their being dependents of respondent No. 1 and failure of respondent No. 1 to account for those properties could activate a legal presumption against him. Alas, despite those observations of the Court respondent No. 1 persisted with that strategy and continued with the gamble till the end of hearing of these petitions.  

 

107.     Corruption at high places is not a new phenomenon but the methods of corruption and concealing the proceeds of corruption have seen a dramatic change in recent times. Previously a corrupt official would make illegal money and then put the amount in his bank account or a bank account of someone close to him or would convert that amount into property. Such proceeds of corruption and the property acquired through the same were not difficult to detect and, therefore, the normal onus and standard of proof required in a criminal case, i.e. the prosecution to prove its allegations beyond reasonable doubt and the accused person presumed to be innocent till proved guilty were applicable to the cases of corruption as well. Things have, however, changed now. There are now tax havens available in different parts of the world and through creation of offshore companies not only tax is being evaded by concealing wealth but even ill-gotten money is parked behind multiple veils of secrecy which are extremely difficult to lift or penetrate. This new development has forced legislatures around the world to modify the laws about onus and standard of proof in cases of corruption and even the courts and tribunals in different parts of the world are adopting different approaches for concluding as to whether the allegations of corruption leveled against an accused person have been established or not. In Pakistan, as already noticed above, section 5-C of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 places a light initial onus of proof on the prosecution to establish that the accused person is in possession of some movable or immovable property and there is reason to believe that such property had been acquired by improper means and the same is disproportionate to his known sources of income and then a heavier onus shifts to the accused person to account for possession of the relevant properties to the satisfaction of the court. Again, section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 places a light initial onus of proof on the prosecution to establish that a holder of a public office, or any other person, or his dependent or Benamidar owns, possesses, or has acquired right or title in any asset or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any asset or pecuniary resource disproportionate to his known sources of income or maintains a standard of living beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income and thereafter a heavier onus shifts to the accused person to reasonably account for his ownership, possession, acquiring of right or title or holding irrevocable power of attorney in respect of such assets or pecuniary resources. Section 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 goes a step further and provides that “In any trial of an offence punishable under clause (v) of sub-section (a) of Section 9 of this Ordinance, the fact that the accused person or any other person on his behalf, is in possession for which the accused person cannot satisfactorily account, of assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, or that such person has, at or about the time of the commission of the offence with which he is charged, obtained an accretion to his pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account, the Court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that the accused person is guilty of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices and his conviction therefor shall not be invalid by reason only that it is based solely on such presumption.” This change of approach in cases of corruption and corrupt practices is not just confined to Pakistan but there is also some international arbitral and common law authority available now showing that when it comes to establishing corruption and corrupt practices in civil proceedings the standard of proof required is the balance of probabilities and understanding of a prudent man and not beyond reasonable doubt and that such an issue can even be clinched on the basis of circumstantial evidence. It has already been observed by us above that proceedings of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution are essentially civil in nature. A survey of the following cases would demonstrate that in civil proceedings at the international level the standard of proof in relation to corruption and corrupt practices is ‘balance of probabilities’ (allowing inferences from circumstantial evidence) and not ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

 

108.     In the field of international commercial arbitration we note that in the case of Agrima Ltd. v. Republic of Zambia (ICC Case No. 12732) [(2011) 22 ICC International Court of Arbitration Bulletin at page 78] a distinguished ICC Tribunal was asked to address claims that the contract in issue was part of a corrupt transaction and had entailed illegal conduct under the applicable English law. The Tribunal observed that it was of the view that:

 

“the standard of proof need not be, and should not be, weakened, nor that it need be or should be strengthened. The same standard of proof, namely one based upon the balance of probability, should be applied. That standard does not require “certainty”, or even “likelihood beyond a reasonable doubt”. Nor does it require conclusive, direct evidence. It requires evidence, to be sure, but such evidence may be indirect or circumstantial, to the extent it is sufficient, in the context of the surrounding circumstances, to tip the balance of probability.”

 

Similarly, in ICC Case No 8891 [(2000) 127 Journal du droit international at pages 1076, 1079] another learned ICC Tribunal concluded, by drawing on circumstantial evidence, described by the Tribunal as “indicia”, that corruption had taken place. The Tribunal set out and applied the following test (translated from the original French text):

 

“According to the traditional rules concerning the standard of proof, it is incumbent on the party that alleges a wrongful act to prove it. This often turns out to be difficult in practice. The illicit object is generally hidden behind contractual dispositions which appear on their face to be anodyne. That is why arbitrators often have no choice but to base themselves on indicia. Those indicia must be serious.”

 

In the case of Argentine Engineer v. British Company (ICC Case No 1110) [Award of 1963 (Lagergren) (1996) 47 Yearbook of International Arbitration 47] the Sole Arbitrator Lagergren (a Judge of the International Court of Justice) held on the basis of circumstantial evidence and adverse inferences that the contracts there at issue had been entered into through corruption.

 

109.     In the field of international investment arbitration (Investor-State Arbitration) the ICSID Tribunals (tribunals formed under the auspices of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes) have also been alive to the difficulties that practically persist in trying to prove corruption and the consequences that must perforce have for the applicable standard of proof. In the case of Oostergetel v. The Slovak Republic [UNCITRAL Final Award (23 April 2012)] the Tribunal held that whilst

 

“[f]or obvious reasons, it is generally difficult to bring positive proof of corruption --------------------- corruption can also be proven by circumstantial evidence.”

 

In the case of Metal-Tech Ltd. v. Uzbekistan (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/3, Award, 4 October 2013) the Tribunal observed that:

 

“the Tribunal will determine on the basis of the evidence before it whether corruption has been established with reasonable certainty. In this context, it notes that corruption is by essence difficult to establish and that it is thus generally admitted that it can be shown through circumstantial evidence.”

 

In the case of Tokios Tokeles v. Ukraine (Case No. ARB/02/18, Award, 26 July 2007) the Tribunal said that in relation to government corruption-like activities the standard of proof was whether the assertion “is more likely than not to be true”, that is, balance of probabilities.

 

110.     Similar conclusions can be drawn from the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice which in the case of Corfu Channel (ICJ Rep 1949 at page 18) laid down the rule that, where an allegation is particularly difficult to prove, the party which is trying to prove the allegation at issue

 

“should be allowed a more liberal recourse to inferences of fact and circumstantial evidence. This indirect evidence is admitted in all systems of law, and its use is recognized by international decisions. It must be regarded as of special weight when it is based on a series of facts linked together and leading logically to a single conclusion.”

 

111.     Even in the English law it was incisively observed by the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords in the case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v. Rehman [2001] UKHL 47, [2002] 1 All ER 122 that:

 

“The civil standard of proof always means more likely than not. The only higher degree of probability required by the law is the criminal standard. But, as Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead explained in In re H (Sexual Abuse, Standard of Proof) (Minors) [1996] AC 563 at 586, some things are inherently more likely than others. It would need more cogent evidence to satisfy one that the creature seen walking in Regent’s Park was more likely than not to have been a lioness than to be satisfied to the same standard of probability that it was an Alsatian [dog]. --------------------- cogent evidence is generally required to satisfy a civil tribunal that a person has been fraudulent or behaved in some other reprehensible manner. But the question is always whether the tribunal thinks it more probable than not.”

 

112.     The present case before us is not a criminal case and nobody has prayed that respondent No. 1 or his children may be convicted by this Court of corruption, corrupt practices or money laundering, etc. The petitioners have called upon this Court mainly to examine as to whether in the matter of his explanations in respect of acquisition of the relevant properties and assets respondent No. 1 has been honest to the nation, the National Assembly and this Court or not. A lot of circumstances have become available on the record which circumstances have already been discussed in the earlier part of this judgment. Article 2(4) of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 reproduced above speaks of the “matters” before the court and not just the “evidence” produced and it visualizes that there may be cases where a fact may be found by the court to exist and proved on the basis of the circumstances of the case even if no direct or positive evidence is available before it. Setting up an offshore company and concealment of ill-gotten wealth and assets behind its multiple veils of secrecy which may be extremely difficult to lift or penetrate pose new challenges to administration of justice worldwide and in the absence of direct or positive evidence such cases of corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. may be solved through strong circumstantial evidence or material. The circumstances of a given case may also convince a court or tribunal that the explanations advanced by a person trying to justify his wealth and assets held in the name of another are not true or correct which factor may impinge upon his honesty, particularly when he holds a high public office of authority. In the present case we are only seized of the issue of respondent No. 1’s honesty in the constitutional context and not the allegations of corruption, corrupt practices or money laundering, etc. leveled against him and, therefore, the said aspect of the matter can validly be determined by us on the basis of the circumstances of the case as made permissible by the provisions of Article 2(4) of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 reproduced above. Legal sages down the ages have maintained Jura novit curia (the court determines for itself what the law is) or as Darling J. put it in Gray v. Gee (1923) 39 TLR 429, 430: “It used to be said that the common law of England resided in the breasts of His Majesty's Judges”. It is by now settled that the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, which has been invoked in the present case, is inquisitorial and not adversarial. The common law concept of justice, equity and good conscience now finds translated into a jurisdiction conferred upon this Court by Article 187(1) of the Constitution according to which in a case or matter pending before it this Court has the power to issue such directions, orders or decrees as may be necessary for doing complete justice. This unique and extraordinary jurisdiction has been conferred by the Constitution only upon this Court which sits at the apex of judicial administration and not upon any other court in the country because it could be visualized that there might be cases wherein the rigours of the codified law or strict compliance of the same may create a situation which might be unjust or oppressive in the circumstances of the case. All the other courts in this country are courts of law whereas this Court is not just a court of law but also the court of ultimate justice. It is obvious that when it comes to exercise of the said jurisdiction of this Court to do complete justice a strict application of the black letter law may not stand between this Court and the noble cause of justice if the circumstances of the case so warrant.

 

113.     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. Respondent No. 1 has categorically distanced himself from the four properties in London by maintaining that he is not a Director, shareholder or beneficial owner of the offshore companies which own those properties. He has, however, taken up divergent and contradictory stands at different stages in his bids to show how money belonging to his family had been utilized for “purchase” of those properties. In none of such stands he had ever mentioned any investment made in real estate business in Qatar but his children had taken up a totally different stand according to which the four properties in London had been acquired through funds becoming available from a “settlement” of a real estate business in Qatar. Except for two elusive, vague and obscure statements of a gentleman from Qatar, which statements are based upon nothing but hearsay, no independent evidence or material has been produced by respondent No. 1’s children to show that there in fact was any investment in real estate business in Qatar, there in fact was anything due to the family of respondent No. 1 when that business was finally settled and the funds generated through such settlement had then in fact been utilized for acquisition of the relevant properties in London. The story about any such investment in real estate business in Qatar was not the original story of respondent No. 1’s children, it had been introduced in midstream and at the end it was ditched by advancing another story and both the documents produced in support of the new story were far from being satisfactory or reliable. In different interviews, which were never denied or controverted, different members of respondent No. 1’s family including his wife, sons and daughter had talked about purchasing, mortgaging or hiring of those properties on rent for which no evidence or material whatsoever had been produced by them. It is now being claimed that the said properties are owned by respondent No. 1’s son namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif since the year 2006 but nothing has been produced before the Court in support of such a claim. The only document being relied upon in that respect is a Trust Deed showing Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif as the beneficial owner and Mariam Safdar as the trustee of those properties since the year 2006 which document is a private document not notarized by any official. It is not denied before us that the trust so created is not recorded in any official record relevant to the two offshore companies owning the said properties or in the record of the administrator of the said companies. No record of the two offshore companies or of their administrator has been produced by respondent No. 1 and his children before this Court showing any legal connection between them and the two offshore companies and their administrator or when such connection had been established, if at all. We had repeated asked the learned counsel for respondent No. 1 and his children to produce any record establishing that Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif became the owner of the said offshore companies in the year 2006, as claimed by him, and that respondent No. 1 and his children had nothing to do with their ownership before the year 2006 but no such record had been produced by them despite having exclusive possession of the same, as claimed. Respondent No. 1, his wife, their children and their chief financial advisor had categorically maintained at different stages that the entire relevant record was available with them and the same would be produced before any court or forum inquiring into the allegations but that commitment or claim was never honoured. Through their Joint Further Statement filed before this Court on January 23, 2017 (Civil Miscellaneous Application No. 432 of 2017) respondents No. 7 and 8 had placed on the record a letter written to their learned counsel Mr. Salman Akram Raja by one Mr. Lawrence Radley Solicitor on January 17, 2017 maintaining therein that he had acted as a Solicitor in purchases of the relevant four properties in London between the years 1993 and 1996 and that according to his “recollection” his “instructions to purchase were not provided by any member of the Sharif family”. Nothing has been produced before this Court to confirm or establish that Mr. Lawrence Radley was in fact a Solicitor, he had indeed been associated with purchases of the said properties between the years 1993 and 1996 or the letter referred to above is a genuine document. The facts of the case show, and show quite clearly, that very valuable properties had statedly been acquired by respondent No. 1’s children and many businesses had been set up and run by them in different parts of the world since the time when they had no independent sources of income and respondent No. 1 and his children have miserably failed to even prima facie account for the same. No definite source of income has been disclosed, no bank account has been identified, no receipt has been produced, no money trail has been established and no document relating to transfer of interest in any of the companies or properties has been supplied by them and all their explanations in respect of businesses and assets are elusive and evasive at best. Apart from that the shifting stands taken, the divergent and contradictory explanations advanced and the prevarication and concealment resorted to by them at different stages of the matter unmistakably point towards a guilty mind and conscience as observed by this Court in the case of S. M. Hayat v. Federal Service Tribunal and 3 others (1989 SCMR 218) in the following words:

 

“It is apparent from the record of inquiry that in preliminary inquiry the appellant has categorically admitted in his statement that Mr. I. M. Tariq Supr ‘B’ alongwith members of F. S. Team visited his residence and he also confirmed in his cross-examination that he recognizes Mr. Imam Tariq. The appellant also admitted his travel in the car of the representative of the Textile Mills from Cyanide Factory to the Mohajir Camp Chowk alongwith Mr. Kaleem-uz-Zaman. But in his statement at a later stage the appellant has totally denied the visit of Mr. I. M. Tariq alongwith the members of F. S. Team, to his residence as well as his travel in the Mills representative’s car on 22.2.1982. These contradictory statements on the part of the appellant show his guilty conscience by his own conduct which clearly makes him responsible for commission of the alleged offence beyond any doubt.”

 

In the case of Dr. Aftab Shah v. Pakistan Employees Cooperative Society Limited and 5 others (2006 CLC 342) the High Court of Sindh had observed as follows:

 

“15.        --------------------- When one stand is taken at one point of time and a different stand at another, and both stands do not reconcile with each other, then this act by itself leads to the presumption that such person does not have a genuine cause of action. The conflicting stands amount to destroying one’s own cause of action and, therefore, the entire foundation of plaintiff’s claim is to be treated as false.”

 

In another case of Asif Mowjee v. Zaheer Abbas and others (2015 CLC 877) the High Court of Sindh had observed as under:

 

“52.        The stand taken by learned counsel for the Applicant is not only self-destructive but also self-clashing. Not only this the applicant is also guilty of approbation and reprobation by taking inconsistent pleas. Of course, which leads to the conclusion that the applicant [defendant No. 1 – judgment debtor] does not have any genuine case.”

 

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.

 

114.     It has already been mentioned in the opening part of this judgment that respondent No. 1 has held the highest public offices since the year 1981 and such offices include those of the Finance Minister, Chief Minister and Prime Minister and in one of his interviews he had stated that he had decided to disassociate himself from the family business in the year 1997 although no material has been produced before us in support of such claim. There is no denying the fact that at least between 1981 and 1997 the said respondent was actively engaged with his family business and was simultaneously enjoying the above mentioned highest public offices. It is also an admitted fact that the relevant two offshore companies own the four properties in London from the years 1993/1996 which offshore companies are statedly owned by respondent No. 1’s son namely Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif at least since the year 2006. The dependent and non-earning children of respondent No. 1 are admittedly in possession of the said properties in London since the years 1993/1996 and, thus, it is respondent No. 1 who is deemed to be in possession of those properties since the years 1993/1996. Nothing has been produced before this Court either by respondent No. 1 or his son to show that before the year 2006 the said offshore companies and the relevant properties were owned by somebody else. It is, therefore, more likely than not that the said companies and properties were set up or taken over at a time when respondent No. 1 was holding the above mentioned highest public offices in Pakistan. His asserted business relations with Al-Thani family of Qatar and the commonly known blessings received by his businesses from the royal families of the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may also point towards his public offices in Pakistan having inseparable connections with his businesses in other parts of the world. In that backdrop a serious issue arises as to whether respondent No. 1 has been an ‘ameen’ while in charge of the resources of the motherland or not. Plato is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest philosophers of all times and in his book ‘Republic’ he had concluded many thousand years ago that for the position of the king he would prefer a philosopher over a merchant because a philosopher is a visionary thinking about the future whereas a merchant may find it impossible not to keep his mundane business and property interests in mind even when administering the republic. Plato was indeed a wise man.

 

115.     The main relief prayed for by the petitioners through the present petitions is regarding a declaration that respondent No. 1 is not ‘honest’ and ‘ameen’ and consequently he is not qualified to be elected to or remain a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and for seeking such relief a wholehearted reliance is placed upon the provisions of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution which are reproduced below:  

        

“62.        (1)           A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless-

(a)           ---------------------

(b)           ---------------------

(c)           ---------------------

(d)           he is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions;

(e)           he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins;

(f)            he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law; and

---------------------.”

 

It appears that while prescribing the said qualifications guidance must have been sought from the Holy Qur’an wherein the qualifications for a domestic servant indicated are “alqavi ul ameen” (physically strong and reliable/trustworthy) [Surah Al-Qasas: verse No. 26] and those for being placed over resources of the land are “hafeez un aleem” (reliable custodian/protector and knowledgeable) [Surah Yusuf: verse No. 55]. It is probably in those contexts that the qualifications of being “honest” and “ameen” prescribed in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution are to be understood, interpreted and applied. The reasons why such stringent qualifications for the elected representatives found their way into the Constitution and the difficulties likely to be faced by a court or tribunal in interpreting and applying such abstract qualifications to real cases were commented upon by me in my separate concurring judgment delivered in the case of Ishaq Khan Khakwani and others v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others (PLD 2015 SC 275). In the said judgment a number of ambiguities and impracticalities were highlighted and observations were made how it was difficult for a court or tribunal to apply the above mentioned requirements of Article 62 of the Constitution. The relevant part of that judgment reads as follows:

 

“Similarly clause (f) of Article 62 of the Constitution provides a feast of legal obscurities. It lays down that a person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless:

 

"(f)          he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and ameen[, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law]."

 

Whether a person is ‘sagacious’ or not depends upon a comprehensive study of his mind which is not possible within the limited scope of election authorities or courts involved in election disputes. The acumen or sagacity of a man cannot be fathomed. The same is true of being 'righteous' and 'non-profligate'. These factors relate to a man's state of mind and cannot be properly encompassed without a detailed and in-depth study of his entire life. It is proverbial that Devil himself knoweth not the intention of man. So, why to have such requirements in the law, nay, the Constitution, which cannot even be defined, not to talk of proof. The other requirement qua being 'honest’ and 'ameen' have a clear reference towards the Holy Prophet's (p.b.u.h.) attributes as ‘Sadiq' and 'Ameen'. This as well as other requirements envisaged by the preceding clauses of Article 62, if applied strictly, are probably incorporated in the Constitution to ensure that only the pure and pious Muslims (living upto the standard of a prophet of God Almighty) should be elected to our Assemblies so that, as provided in the Preamble, the sovereignty of God Almighty could be exercised by them in the State of Pakistan as a sacred trust. But, instead of being idealistic, the Constitution of a country should be more practicable. The line of prophethood has long been discontinued and now we are left with sinful mortals. The political arena in our country is full of heavyweights whose social and political credentials outweigh their moral or religious credentials. Even the electorate in our country has also repeatedly demonstrated their preference for practical wisdom and utility over religious puritanism. Thus, the inclusion of unrealistic and ill-defined requirements in the Basic Law of the Land renders the same impracticable and detracts from the sanctity which the Constitution otherwise deserves.”

 

That judgment had concluded with the following remarks made by me which may be of some relevance and interest in the present context:

 

“4.          It is unfortunate that the nightmares of interpretation and application apprehended and anticipated by me as a young lawyer more than a quarter of a century ago are presently gnawing the Returning Officers, Election Tribunals and the superior courts of the country in the face but those responsible for rationalizing the troublesome provisions of the Constitution through appropriate amendments of the Constitution have slept over the matter for so long and they still demonstrate no sign of waking up. As long as the highlighted obscurities and impracticalities are not addressed and remedied nobody should complain that the Returning Officers, Election Tribunals and the superior courts of the country are generally unsuccessful in catching the candidates with bad character or antecedents in the net of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, particularly when the electorate is quite happy to elect such candidates with sweeping majorities while in full knowledge of their character and antecedents. Let us not shy away from acknowledging the hard reality that there is a disconnect between our constitutional morality and our political ethos. There are no qualms of conscience when through a constitutional and legal process a person is ousted from an elected chamber on account of his academic degree being fake and forged but he is returned by the electorate to the same chamber with a bigger majority and he triumphantly re-enters that chamber while flashing a sign of victory. The sign so shown or flaunted proclaims victory of political expediency over constitutional values and such attitudes of our society call for serious reflection and soul-searching.

 

5.             This reminds me of George Bernard Shaw who had observed that "Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." Abraham Lincoln had once remarked: “Let me not be understood as saying that there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise for the redress of which no legal provisions have been made. I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say that although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in force, for the sake of example they should be religiously observed.” If the constitutional provisions discussed above cannot be put to practical use due to their obscurities or impracticalities then we may pay heed to Baron de Montesquieu who had declared that “Useless laws weaken necessary laws”. It may be well to remember that laws and institutions, like clocks, must occasionally be cleaned, wound up and set to true time. Even the old bard William Shakespeare had written in ‘Measure for Measure’:

 

“We must not make a scarecrow of the law,

Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,

And let it keep one shape, till custom make it,

Their perch and not their terror.”

 

In the end I may observe that insistence upon complete virtue in an ordinary mortal may be unrealistic and puritanical behaviour of an ordinary human may have a tendency of making him inhuman. It may be true that humans are the best of Almighty Allah’s creations but the divine structural design never intended an ordinary human being to be perfect and free from all failings, frailties or impurities. There may, thus, be some food for thought in what Abraham Lincoln had said about ordinary folks when he had observed that "It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues."”

 

116.     It may be true that the provisions of Article 62(1)(f) and the likes of them had been inserted in the Constitution through an amendment by an unrepresentative regime of a military ruler but at the same time it is equally true that all the subsequent democratic regimes and popularly elected Parliaments did nothing either to delete such obscure provisions from the Constitution or to define them properly so that any court or tribunal required to apply them may be provided some guidance as to how to interpret and apply them. Be that as it may the fact remains that the said provisions are still very much a part of the Constitution and when they are invoked in a given case the courts and tribunals seized of the matter have no other option but to make some practical sense of them and to apply them as best as can be done. Before application of those provisions to real cases it is imperative to understand as to why such provisions were made a part of the Constitution and where do they stand in the larger design of the Constitution.

 

117.     There is no denying the fact that it was in the name of Islam that Pakistan emerged on the map of the world and the grund norm of the new State and its society, which came to be known as the Ideology of Pakistan, was nothing but Muslim faith. Before embarking upon the task of framing of our first Constitution this ideology was translated into words in precise form by the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in a resolution passed by it in the year 1949. That resolution, known as the “Objectives Resolution”, inter alia, provided as follows:

 

“Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust;”

 

“Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people;”

 

“Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed;”

 

“Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah;”

 

In the successive Constitutions that were adopted by the people of Pakistan from time to time the principles and provisions of that Objectives Resolution were added as a Preamble thereto till the year 1985 when, through insertion of Article 2A in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, it was categorically provided that “The principles and provisions set out in the Objectives Resolution reproduced in the Annex are hereby made substantive part of the Constitution and shall have effect accordingly”. There are certain remarkable Islamic features of the Objectives Resolution, now a substantive part of our Constitution, which are hard to escape notice. For instance a new dimension has been given therein to the concept of sovereignty of the Parliament. Although sovereignty of Almighty Allah over the entire universe has been acknowledged yet the State has been recognized as the delegatee thereof which is to exercise that sovereignty through chosen representatives of the people within the limits prescribed by Almighty Allah as a sacred trust. Thus, while conceding sovereignty to a democratically elected Parliament the Constitution simultaneously circumscribes that sovereignty by confining it to the limits prescribed by Almighty Allah. This is in exact conformity with a Muslim’s belief that he may be free to make his own choices in life but he may not overstep the limits prescribed by his Creator. Looked at in this perspective the Pakistani Constitution, conforming to the Islamic perceptions, recognizes democracy as the only mode of governance, but a democracy which does not come in conflict with a Muslim’s faith. To an outsider this may appear to be enigmatic but we the Muslims of Pakistan have no difficulty in understanding and applying this concept. It, therefore, fits into the scheme when the Objectives Resolution refers to “the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam” and envisions a State “wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah”. The scheme, unmistakably, is the establishment of a modern and democratic Islamic State in fulfillment of the wishes of the Muslims of this region and the manifestations of this scheme are to be found spread over the entire Constitution of Pakistan. Article 1(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 provides that “Pakistan shall be a Federal Republic to be known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to as Pakistan”. It may be pertinent to point out that Pakistan has been the first country in modern history to introduce the concept of an “Islamic Republic” which was later on also adopted by some other Muslim countries. Not only the name of the country itself but also the political system of its governance incorporated therein shows the wishes of its people to blend modernity with their faith. Article 2 of the Constitution, providing that “Islam shall be the State religion of Pakistan”, again highlights the same theme and accomplishes the very object of creation of Pakistan. Under Article 41(2) of the Constitution the President, who is to be the Head of State of this Islamic Republic, has to be a Muslim. Under Article 50 of the Constitution the Parliament of the State is to be called the “Majlis-e-Shoora” after the Islamic traditions. It is in this context that the qualifications prescribed for membership of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or a Provincial Assembly and also for holding some other high offices of the State have a distinct Islamic overtone and the following provisions of Article 62 of the Constitution bear an ample testimony to that:

 

“(d)        he is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions;

 

(e)           he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins;

 

(f)            he is sagacious, righteous an non-profligate and honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law;

 

(g)           he has not been convicted for a crime involving moral turpitude or for giving false evidence;

 

(h)           he has not, after the establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the Ideology of Pakistan:

 

                Provided that the disqualifications specified in paragraphs (d) and (e) shall not apply to a person who is a non-Muslim, but such a person shall have good moral reputation;”

 

These qualifications for the Federal and Provincial legislators and high officers of the State may be quite onerous and hard to meet but, at the same time, understandable if it is kept in mind that such “chosen representatives of the people” and officers, while exercising the powers and authority of the State, are to exercise the sovereignty of Almighty Allah as His delegatees by way of a “sacred trust”. In the context of the issue of corruption by elected representatives in the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or Provincial Assemblies it may be observed that a faithful adherence to the provisions of Article 62 of the Constitution provides a recipe for cleansing the fountainhead of authority of the State so that the trickled down authority may also become unpolluted. If this is achieved then the legislative and executive limbs of the State are purified at the top and such purity at the top necessarily trickles down to the bottom as well. This recipe ensures clean leadership at the top which may legislate for and administer this "land of the pure" (Pakistan) as true delegatees of the sovereignty and authority of Almighty Allah. That appears to be the constitutional design and as long as the above mentioned provisions are a part of the Constitution the courts of the country are under a sworn commitment to enforce them.

 

118.     The courts and tribunals in the country seized of issues regarding interpretation and application of the provisions of Article 62 of the Constitution have generally been quite circumspect and careful but over time jurisprudence on such issues has evolved and the potential and purpose of the said provisions is being grasped and achieved with a realization that notwithstanding many obscurities and impracticalities ingrained in such provisions the same have to be interpreted, applied and enforced as a command and mandate of the Constitution. In some cases persons were held not to be qualified for being candidates or disqualified from being or remaining as members of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or Provincial Assemblies where they had claimed to possess educational qualifications which were fake and bogus, where they had practised cheating and fraud in obtaining the requisite educational qualifications or where they had submitted false declarations and had suppressed the information regarding their holding dual nationalities and a reference in this respect may be made to the cases of Muhammad Khan Junejo v. Fida Hussain Dero and others (PLD 2004 SC 452), Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad Khan Bar v. Chief Election Commissioner Islamabad and others (PLD 2010 SC 817), Muhammad Rizwan Gill v. Nadia Aziz and others (PLD 2010 SC 828), Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan v. Muhammad Ajmal and another (PLD 2010 SC 1066), Haji Nasir Mehmood v. Mian Imran Masood and others (PLD 2010 SC 1089), Mudassar Qayyum Nahra v. Ch. Bilal Ijaz (2011 SCMR 80), Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan and others (2012 SCMR 1101), Malik Iqbal Ahmad Langrial v. Jamshed Alam and others (PLD 2013 SC 179), Mian Najeeb-ud-Din Owasi and another v. Amir Yar Waran and others (PLD 2013 SC 482), Sadiq Ali Memon v. Returning Officer and others (2013 SCMR 1246), Abdul Ghafoor Lehri v. Returning Officer and others (2013 SCMR 1271), Muhammad Khan Junejo v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, M/o Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and others (2013 SCMR 1328), General (R.) Pervez Musharraf v. Election Commission of Pakistan and another (2013 CLC 1461), Allah Dino Khan Bhayo v. Election Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad and others (2013 SCMR 1655), Malik Umar Aslam v. Mrs. Sumaira Malik and others (2014 SCMR 45), Gohar Nawaz Sindhu v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (PLD 2014 Lahore 670), Muhammad Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry v. Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar and others (2016 SCMR 1), Muhammad Siddique Baloch v. Jehangir Khan Tareen and others (PLD 2016 SC 97) and Rai Hassan Nawaz v. Haji Muhammad Ayub & others (PLD 2017 SC 70).

 

119.     In all the above mentioned cases the relevant courts and tribunals were cognizant of the constitutional scheme peculiar to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan wherein the delegated sovereignty of Almighty Allah is to be exercised by the chosen representatives of the people as a sacred trust and, hence, the need to ensure that only those who are ‘honest’ and ‘ameen’ enter into or remain in the highest elected chambers. In the case of Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad Khan Bar v. Chief Election Commissioner Islamabad and others (PLD 2010 SC 817) this Court had observed as follows:

 

“14.        The Parliament of any country is one of its noblest, honourable and important institutions making not only the policies and the laws for the nation but in fact 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 said august House. He is guilty, inter alia, of impersonation --- posing to be what he was not i.e. a graduate. He is also guilty of having been a party to the making of false documents and then dishonestly using them for his benefit knowing them to be false. He is further guilty of cheating --- cheating not only his own constituents but the nation at large.”

 

Similarly in the case of Muhammad Rizwan Gill v. Nadia Aziz and others (PLD 2010 SC 828) this Court had observed as under:

 

“13.        And it was to preserve the pureness, the piety and the virtuousness of such-like eminent and exalted institutions that, inter-alia, Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution and section 99 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 had declared that, amongst others, the persons who were not of good character; who indulged in commission of major sins; who were not honest; who were removed, dismissed or compulsorily retired from service of Pakistan; who had obtained loans from banks and had not re-paid the same or who had indulged in corrupt practices during the course of elections, would not be allowed to pollute the clearness of these legislative institutions.”

 

In the case of Muhammad Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry v. Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar and others (2016 SCMR 1) it was held by this Court that on account of his submitting a false declaration about his educational qualification

 

“the appellant failed the requirements of rectitude and integrity prescribed in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.”

 

The case of Muhammad Siddique Baloch v. Jehangir Khan Tareen and others (PLD 2016 SC 97) was no different and this Court had observed therein as follows:

 

“26.        The loss of qualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution has been visited with removal from elected office under the Constitution in a number of cases including ---------------------. Weighty reasons have been assigned for adopting and implementing the constitutional mandate as a bar on membership in Parliament. Firstly, the qualifications of a candidate set out in Article 62 of the Constitution are a sine qua non for eligibility to be elected as a Member of Parliament. No time limit for eligibility on this score is given in the Constitution. A person who is untruthful or dishonest or profligate has no place in discharging the noble task of law making and administering the affairs of State in government office. Such faults in character or disposition, if duly established, cannot be treated as transient for the purpose of reposing trust and faith of the electorate and the Constitution in the holder of an elected office under the Constitution. The trusteeship attendant upon the discharge of every public office under the Constitution, whether Legislative, Executive or Judicial is a universally recognized norm. However, our Constitution emphasizes upon it expressly for an elected parliamentary office. The Constitutional norm must be respected and therefore implemented.” 

 

The latest reported case on the subject is that of Rai Hassan Nawaz v. Haji Muhammad Ayub & others (PLD 2017 SC 70) wherein this Court had held as under:

 

“7.          An honest and truthful declaration of assets and liabilities by a returned candidate in his nomination papers furnishes a benchmark for reviewing his integrity and probity in the discharge of his duties and functions as an elected legislator. ---------------------

8.             --------------------- Where assets, liabilities, earnings and income of an elected or contesting candidate are camouflaged or concealed by resort to different legal devices including benami, trustee, nominee, etc. arrangements for constituting holders of title, it would be appropriate for a learned Election Tribunal to probe whether the beneficial interest in such assets or income resides in the elected or contesting candidate in order to ascertain if his false or incorrect statement of declaration under Section 12(2) of the ROPA is intentional or otherwise. --------------------- It is to ensure integrity and probity of contesting candidates and therefore all legislators. ---------------------

 

15.          The object of Section 76A ibid is clearly to promote public interest by ensuring that elected public representatives have untainted financial credentials of integrity, probity and good faith. ---------------------

16.          Indeed, honesty, integrity, probity and bona fide dealings of a returned candidate are matters of public interest because these standards of rectitude and propriety are made the touchstone in the constitutional qualifications of legislators laid down in Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

 

120.     There may possibly be yet another reason why the qualifications regarding being ‘honest’ and ‘ameen’ and the likes of them had to be incorporated in Article 62 of the Constitution of our country through an amendment of the Constitution. In the parts of the world where democracy is entrenched for a long time the requirements of honesty, integrity, rectitude and probity in those who aspire for or hold representative public offices or other positions of high public authority are well understood and insisted upon. In such parts of the world public morality is treated differently from private morality and a person in high public office found or caught indulging in an immoral behaviour or undesirable conduct is seldom spared and that is why in order to avoid the ensuing shame and dishonour he/she, more often than not, resigns or withdraws from the scene on his/her own. Unfortunately that kind of character is generally not demonstrated in our part of the world as yet and that is why qualifications like ‘honest’ and ‘ameen’ and the likes of them had been codified and incorporated in our Constitution and the relevant election laws so as to provide a constitutional and legal basis and mechanism for getting rid of such elements. Lack of honesty, suppression of truth and conduct unbecoming of a gentleman have often been considered in the civilized world as valid grounds for high public officers or personalities to quit the office or scene voluntarily and some of such instances are mentioned below:

 

In Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned on April 05, 2016 when the Panama Papers, published in newspapers around the world, showed that the 41-year-old premier and his wife had investments placed in the British Virgin Islands, which included debt in Iceland’s three failed banks. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) had uncovered that he and his wife had an offshore account to manage an inheritance.

 

In Spain the acting Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria resigned after his alleged links to offshore dealings emerged through the Panama Papers. After initially denying having links to tax havens he resigned on April 15, 2016.

 

In the United States of America President Richard M. Nixon had resigned from his office after it was established that he had misled the nation and the concerned authorities in the matter of involvement of his administration in the Watergate scandal and its subsequent cover-up. President Bill Clinton narrowly survived impeachment on the ground of lying in the matter of his sexual relationship with an intern in his office. Representative (R-GA) and leader of the Republican Revolution of 1994 resigned from the House of Representatives after admitting in 1998 to having had an affair with his intern while he was married to his second wife. In the night of July 18, 1969, shortly after leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy of Massachusetts drove an Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond. Kennedy escaped the submerged car but his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, did not. The senator did not report the fatal car accident for 10 hours. The incident on Chappaquiddick Island helped to derail his presidential hopes and he pulled out of the race. Strom Thurmond, Senator (R-SC), a noted segregationist, fathered a child, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, with a 15-year-old African American in the year 1925 who was employed by the Thurmond family. The embarrassment caused by the scandal forced him to resign. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), a newly married U.S. Representative, admitted to sending sexually suggestive photographs of himself to several women through his Twitter account. He resigned from the Congress in June 2011. Elliot Spitzer, a Democratic governor of New York, had patronized an elite escort service run by Emperors Club VIP. The New York Times broke the story in March 2008 and the ensuing scandal led to Spitzer's resignation as Governor within the next few days. John Edwards, Senator (D-NC) admitted to an extramarital affair with actor and film producer Rielle Hunter, which produced a child, seriously undercutting his 2008 presidential campaign. Bob Livingston, Representative (R-LA) called for resignation of Bill Clinton and when his own extramarital affairs were leaked his wife urged him to resign and urged Clinton to do likewise. Livingston announced that he would vacate his House seat in May 1999 and withdrew his candidacy for the office of Speaker.

 

In the United Kingdom Andrew Mitchell, Conservative government’s Chief Whip resigned after admitting swearing at the police at the gates of Downing Street, London. Chris Huhne, Energy Secretary, resigned in February 2012 and pleaded guilty to the charge of perverting the course of justice. He was clocked speeding on the road but to avoid a driving ban he falsely said that it was his wife who was driving. In the Members of Parliament expenses scandal many claimed that expenses were legal and within the rule but in the words of David Cameron they were not always up to “highest ethical standards”. Michael Martin, Speaker at the time, made efforts to cover up the scandal resulting in him being forced to resign in January 2009. He was the first Speaker in the last 300 years to be forced to resign. Ron Davies, Secretary of State for Wales, resigned in October 1998 after being robbed by a man he met at Clapham Common and then lying about it. Clapham Common is a known gay meeting place in London. Scotland's First Minister Henry McLeish resigned in November 2001 when he was found to have sub-let a part of his constituency office in Glenrothes, in Fife, and had failed to register the income he received with the House of Commons authorities. David McLetchie CBE, Member of the Scottish Parliament and leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, was forced to resign in the year 2005 after claiming the highest taxi expenses of any Member of the Scottish Parliament. Northern Ireland Minister Michael Mates resigned in the year 1993 over his links with fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir. Peter Mandelson, a Cabinet Minister, bought a home in Notting Hill in the year 1996 partly with an interest-free loan of £373,000 from Geoffrey Robinson, a cabinet colleague and millionaire whose business dealings were subject to an inquiry by Mandelson's department. Mandelson contended that he had deliberately not taken part in any decisions relating to Robinson. However, he had not declared the loan in the Register of Members' Interests and he resigned in December 1998. In January 2001 Mandelson resigned from the Government for a second time following accusations of using his position to influence a passport application. He had contacted Home Office Minister Mike O'Brien on behalf of Srichand Hinduja, an Indian businessman who was seeking British citizenship, and whose family firm was to become the main sponsor of the "Faith Zone" in the Millennium Dome. Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare’s perjury trial began on 30 May 2001, a month after one Monica Coghlan's death in a road traffic accident. One Ted Francis claimed that Archer had asked him to provide a false alibi for the night Archer was alleged to have been with Monica Coghlan. Angela Peppiatt, Archer's former personal assistant, also claimed Archer had fabricated an alibi in the 1987 trial. Archer resigned.

 

In Japan in June 2010 Yukio Hatoyama announced his resignation as the Prime Minister before a meeting of the Japanese Democratic Party. He cited breaking a campaign promise to close an American military base on the island of Okinawa as the main reason for the move. Toshikatsu Matsuoka, the agriculture minister, committed suicide in May 2003 after being accused of misusing political funds. Akira Amari, Economy Minister, resigned in the year 2016 after admitting receipt of money from a construction company executive which he claimed to have received as political donation. Trade Minister Obuchi and Justice Minister Matsushima resigned in October 2014 when Obuchi was accused of funneling campaign money to her sister and brother-in-law and to improperly subsidizing entertainment junkets for supporters whereas Matsushima stepped down for improperly distributing more than $100,000 worth of paper fans to constituents.

 

Premier Barry O'Farrell, Minister for Western Sydney, Australia resigned in April 2014 after a corruption inquiry obtained a handwritten note that contradicted his claims that he had not received a $3000 bottle of wine from the head of a company linked to the Obeid family. The Independent Commission Against Corruption heard that Mr. O'Farrell was sent the Penfolds Grange Hermitage by Nick Di Girolamo as a congratulatory gift following his March 2011 election victory.

 

In the Czech Republic Prime Minister Peter Necas resigned in June 2013 after prosecutors charged his chief of staff with corruption and abuse of power. The Prime Minister's chief of staff, Jana Nagyova, was suspected of bribing the former MPs with offers of posts in state-owned firms. It is alleged that this was in exchange for them giving up their parliamentary seats. Ms. Nagyova - a close colleague of Mr. Necas for nearly a decade - was also suspected of illegally ordering military intelligence to spy on three people.

 

Although President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan wanted to see a strong and independent Taiwan his family’s (and his own) lack of self control managed to undermine many of his positions. His son-in-law was caught money laundering and insider trading, his wife wired over $21 million to various banks in the world, and he was arrested after his resignation for embezzlement of funds and receiving bribes.

 

When persons in high public offices brazenly and unabashedly cling on to offices or power despite having been involved or implicated in serious scandals of corruption or immoral conduct impairing their high moral authority then the only way to oust or drive them out is to provide for a legal mechanism for their ouster and this is probably why in our country suitable provisions had been introduced in Article 62 of the Constitution and the relevant election laws through appropriate amendments. For a court or tribunal to get involved in such matters may not be the most desirable thing to do but as long as the Constitution and the law command or warrant such intervention there may not be any occasion for them to shy away from performance of such duty.

 

121.     In the above mentioned case of Ishaq Khan Khakwani and others v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others (PLD 2015 SC 275) I had described the words “honest” and “ameen” appearing in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution as obscure and impracticable and had also talked about the nightmares of interpretation and application that they involved. However, as the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) has so far not found any time to consider the said issue, therefore, the courts in the country are under an obligation not only to make some practical sense of those words by suitably interpreting them as clearly as is possible and practicable but also to apply them to real cases without losing their spirit and utility. An appropriate and safe approach towards interpretation of words used in the realm of morality which are not defined is to adopt a limiting and restrictive approach and this is what had been done by a Full Bench of the High Court of Balochistan in the case of Molvi Muhammad Sarwar and others v. Returning Officer PB-15, Musa Khail and others (2013 CLC 1583). Writing for the Full Bench in that case Qazi Faez Isa, CJ (now an Honourable Judge of this Court) had observed as follows: 

 

“12.        Section 12(2)(a) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 ("the Act") stipulates that every nomination form shall be accompanied by a declaration made on a solemn affirmation by the person seeking to contest elections, that, he/she, "fulfils the qualification specified in Article 62 and is not subject to any of the disqualifications specified in Article 63 or any other law". Section 99(1)(d) of the Act requires a candidate to be of "good character" and one who does not violate Islamic Injunctions. Section 99(1)(e) requires a candidate to abstain "from major sins". Section 99(1)(f) requires him to be "sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen". Section 99(1)(d) of the Act is identical to Article 62(1)(d) of the Constitution, and section 99(1)(e) of the Act is identical to Article 62(1)(e) of the Constitution, whereas section 99(1)(f) of the Act is similar to Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. Article 62 of the Constitution commences by stating that, "a person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen" as a Member of Parliament unless he complies with the provisions of Article 62. The framers of the Constitution wanted parliamentarians to possess high moral integrity and prescribed certain pre-conditions for them.

 

13.          A person, who is of good character, does not violate Islamic Injunctions, abstains from major sins, is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, and honest and ameen may be too high a qualification-bar to surmount. Moreover, sincere and practising Muslims in their humility, as slaves of God, may be reluctant to proclaim their sagacity, righteousness and honesty ever fearful that they fall short; whilst on the other hand lesser beings boldly swearing theirs.  We are also cognizant of the fact that the language of Articles 62(1)(d), (e) and (f) of the Constitution (which is identical/similar to the language of sections 99(1)(d), (e) and (f) of the Act) is very wide and generalized, and may therefore be abused.

 

14.          However, the present case is not one involving any subjective assessment of the stipulated criteria in Article 62 of the Constitution. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has decided that the petitioner was not qualified to contest the 2008 General Elections, but he did so, was elected, and became a Member of the Balochistan Assembly and a Minister in the Cabinet. The petitioner gained an advantage which he was not otherwise entitled to. And as a Member of the Assembly and a Cabinet Minister the petitioner diverted to his personal use funds from the public exchequer. The petitioner used moneys from the Provincial Consolidated Fund and such private use of public money was categorized as a 'development scheme'. Needless to state money for the schooling of ones own children and family members cannot be dressed up as a 'development scheme' and pocketed.

 

15.          In view of the above mentioned conduct of the petitioner he cannot be stated to be of good character or one who does not violate Islamic Injunctions or who is righteous or honest or ameen. Articles 62(1)(d), (e) and (f) of the Constitution and sections 99(1)(d), (e) and (f) of the Act forbid such a person to be elected or chosen as a Member of Parliament. The petitioner however audaciously stated on oath that he "fulfils the qualifications specified in Article 62 and is not subject to any of the disqualifications specified in Article 63 or any other law". Simply put, the petitioner lied.

 

16.          Lies fall into two different categories, those uttered to deceive and to gain an advantage, in the present case to be able to contest elections, and innocent lies without malice or any intended deception and where no benefit or gain accrues. Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur'an "... break not the oaths after you have confirmed them" (Surah 16, An-Nahl, Verse 91). "And be not like her who undoes the thread which she has spun after it has become strong, by taking your oaths a means of deception among yourselves..." (Surah 16, An-Nahl, Verse 92). "And make not your oaths, a means of deception among yourselves, lest a foot may slip after  being firmly planted, and you may have to taste the evil of having hindered from the Path of Allah and yours will be a great torment" (Surah 16, An-Nahl, Verse 94). "... Whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks only to his own harm, and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward" (Surah 48, Al-Fath, Verse 10). "Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths" [if false] (Surah 5, Al-Mai'dah, Verse 89). Whilst liars are castigated the doors of Heaven open to the truthful. "And those who keep their trusts and covenants... shall dwell in Paradise" (Surah 70, Al-Ma'arij, Verses 32-35). "Those who are faithfully true to their trusts and to their covenants ... who shall inherit Paradise" (Surah 23, Al-Mu'minun, Verses 8-11). "Allah said: 'This is a Day on which the truthful will profit from their truth" (Surah 5, Al-Maidah, Verse 119). "0 you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true" (Surah 9, At-Taubah, Verse 119).

 

17.          The cited provisions from the Constitution and the Act may however be misused for ulterior motives. For instance, a Muslim may not be saying his/her prayers or fasting and it be alleged that he/she is not qualified to contest elections. The Creator in His Infinite Wisdom and Mercy has created the distinction between those matters which do not adversely affect others and those that do; two separate obligations or huqooq, those that a person owes to others and those which God demands of man, respectively Huqooq-ul-lbad and Huqooq-ul-Allah. In the Huqooq-ul-lbad category are obligations owed to fellow men and women, such as not gaining an advantage on the basis of fraud. The Huqooq-ul-Allah category includes rituals, such as fasting, praying and performing Hajj. The non-observance of a ritual of the Faith is a matter between the created (abd or slave) and the Creator (Allah Taa'la or Almighty God). Almighty Allah tells us through the Holy Qur'an, "There is no compulsion in religion" (Surah 2, Al-Bakrah, Verse 256). The Messengers of Almighty Allah were given the task to simply convey the Message (Surah 3, Al-Imran, Verse 20 and Surah 5, Al-Mai'dah, Verse 99). Whilst the people may or may not abide by the prescriptions of the Faith they do not have the liberty to violate the rights of others. Since, Articles 62(1)(d), (e) and (f) of the Constitution and sections 99(1)(d), (e) and (f) of the Act refer to Islam, therefore, these may be interpreted in the light of Shariah. A Muslim may or may not be saying his/her prayers and may not be fasting in the month of Ramadan, but these are matters which, in the light of Shariah, cannot be investigated into either by the State or by any individual. Islam does not stipulate punishment in this world for non-observance of rituals; these are matters within the exclusive domain of Almighty Allah. Therefore, by analogy non-observance of rituals by a man or woman cannot be made a pretext to exclude him/her from Parliament. To hold otherwise would be in negation of Islam, and the Constitution. Article 277(1) of the Constitution requires that, "All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam." Consequently, if Articles 62(1)(d), (e) and (f) of the Constitution and Sections 99 (1) (d), (e) and (f) of the Act are interpreted on the touchstone of Islamic Shariah there remains no doubt that personal matters of the Faith remain immune from examination or consequence in this world. 

 

18.          However, the provisions of the Constitution and the Act must be given full effect to when attending to the rights and obligations due to the people or Huqooq-ul-Ibad. Such an interpretation is in accordance with the language of the Constitution and the Act, and does not conflict with what Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur'an nor the directions/teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). The petitioner gained entry into the Balochistan Assembly deceitfully; by violating the Act and the Constitution. Islam requires that a person abides by the laws of the place he/she lives. In addition, Islam does not permit encroachment upon the rights of others. By putting himself forward as a candidate, when the petitioner was not qualified, he violated the law, and the rights of those who had abided by the law. The rights of the voters too were violated as they were deceived into believing that he had the requisite educational qualifications. The petitioner also lied on oath, and gained an advantage by his lie, which is yet another contravention of Islam's stipulated rights of the people or Huqooq-ul-Ibad. The petitioner also diverted public funds for his personal use, which neither the law nor Islam permits. The petitioner, therefore, to use the language of the Constitution, cannot be stated to be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).

 

19.          The Hon'ble Tribunal held that, "the petitioner, does not/did not fulfil the qualifications that are provided in Article 62 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan for a candidate to fulfil while going to contest the elections." The Hon'ble Tribunal further held that, "Similarly, the allegation of payment of more than Rs. 2,281,000/- (Rupees Two Million Two Hundred Eighty One Thousand Only) to his two sons and other relatives is again adversely affects the bona fides, militates and offends the claim of respondent No.1 [petitioner herein] being Ameen, sagacious, truthful an non-profligate." We are in complete agreement with the findings of the Hon'ble Tribunal and the judgment of the Hon'ble Tribunal does not suffer from any illegality.”

 

In an earlier case of Obaidullah v. Senator Mir Muhammad Ali Rind and 2 others (PLD 2012 Balochistan 1) the same Honourable Chief Justice of the High Court of Balochistan had written for a Division Bench as under: 

 

“12.        There is also another aspect to consider. In view of the convictions of Mr. Rind for corruption and embezzling/stealing from the public exchequer, which allegations he has accepted, the question arises whether, being a Muslim, he can be categorized to be "of good character" or someone who "is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions" and thus attract the bar contained in Article 62(1)(d) of the Constitution. This provision has not been changed by the Eighteenth Amendment. The disqualification under this provision is not time-related, but perpetual. Quranic teachings promote an ethical framework for human behaviour. Almighty Allah describes believers as, "Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat and to their covenants" (Surah al-Mu'minun, 23:8). The Almighty directs, "…give full measure and full weight with equity, and defraud not people of their things and commit not iniquity in the earth, causing corruption." (Surah Hud, 11.85). Theft or misappropriating or converting to ones own use property given in trust or amanat is haram and a hadd according to the Quran and Sunnah. Allah has condemned this action and decreed an appropriate punishment for it (Surah al-Maa'idah, 5:38). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cursed the thief because he is a corrupt element in society, and if he is left un-punished, his corruption will spread and infect the body of the ummah (Bukhari, al-Hudood, 6285). What indicates that this ruling is definitive is that fact that a Makhzoomi noblewoman stole at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and, Usamah ibn Zayd wanted to intercede for her. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) became angry and said, "Do you intercede concerning one of the hadd punishments set by Allah? Those who came before you were destroyed because if a rich man among them stole, they would let him off but if a lowly person stole, they would carry out the punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatimah bint Muhammad were to steal, I would cut of her hand," (Bukhaari, Ahadith al-Anbiya, 3216).

 

13.          In the Nomination Form submitted by Mr. Rind he suppressed the fact of his two convictions. The suppression was not something Mr.Rind could have forgotten, overlooked or was an insignificant matter. Thus his declaration on oath, that, "I fulfil the qualifications specified in Article 62, of the Constitution and I am not subject to any of the disqualifications specified in Article 63 of the Constitution or any other law for the time being in force for being elected as a member of the Senate" was clearly false. The question arises whether in making such a blatantly false declaration he "violates Islamic Injunctions" to attract Article 62(1)(d) of the Constitution.

 

14.          Almighty Allah states in the Holy Quran, "... break not the oaths after you have confirmed them" (Surah An-Nahal, 16:91). "And be not like her who undoes the thread which she has spun after it has become strong, by taking your oaths a means of deception among yourselves, lest a nation may be more numerous than another nation. Allah only tests you by this" (Surah An-Nahal, 16:92). "And make not your oaths, a means of deception among yourselves, lest a foot may slip after being firmly planted, and you may have to taste the evil of having hindered (men) from the Path of Allah and yours will be a great torment" (Sarah An-Nahal, 16:94). "... Whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks only to his own harm and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward" (Surah Al-Fath, 48:10). "Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but he will punish you for your deliberate oaths [if false]" (Surah Al-Maidah, 5:89). "And those who keep their trusts and covenants .... shall dwell in Paradise" (Surah Al-Ma'arij, 70:32). "Those who are faithfully true to their trusts and to their covenants … who shall inherit Paradise" (Surah Al-Mu'minun, 23:8), "Allah said: 'This is a Day on which the truthful will profit from their truth' "(Surah Al-Maidah, 5:119). "0 you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true" (Surah At-Taubah, 9:119).

 

15.          Lies fall into two distinct categories. Those uttered to deceive and to gain an advantage, in the present case to be able to contest elections, and innocent lies without malice or any intended deception. In this case Mr. Rind in reply to the question in the Nomination Form, “Have you ever been indicted in criminal proceedings or convicted for the violation of any law (excluding minor traffic violations)?” responded by stating “No” which was an admittedly false statement and made on “Declaration and Oath. Legal and Constitutional consequences follow from making such a false declaration on oath and are clearly not permissible in Islam and thus Mr. Rind would run foul of Article 62(1)(d) as well.

 

16.          The Legislature in its wisdom has incorporated Article 62(1)(d) and it is therefore the duty of the courts to interpret and apply it. We are however cognizant that the same may be misused for ulterior motives, for instance a Muslim may not be saying his prayers or fasting and it be alleged that he stands disqualified under Article 62(1)(d). However, the Creator in His Infinite Wisdom and Mercy has created a distinction between those disobediences which do not adversely affect others and those that do, and thus haqooq-ul-Allah and haqooq ul-abad. The observances of ritual finds favour with our Lord and may also determine whether an individual gains entry into Paradise, however, "There is no compulsion in religion" (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:256). Even the Messengers of Allah were given the task of simply conveying the message (Surah al-Imran, 3:20 and Surah al-Mai'dah, 5:99) and it was left for the people to believe or not or abide by the prescriptions of the Faith or not, but the people do not have the liberty to resort to crimes, including murder, theft, misappropriation of entrusted property et cetera, which adversely affect the rights of others. It is also reasonable to presume that the Legislature only wanted to restrict entry of criminals (thieves, embezzlers et cetera) into the portals of Parliament and not those who were not observing the rituals of their Faith; the probability of the former category would not detract from them being good law makers, ministers, chief ministers or even Prime Minister, but the nation cannot be entrusted into the hands of the latter category. Unfortunately, Mr. Rind by his criminal conduct has himself ensured that the doors of Parliament are closed to him.

 

17.          In view of the abovementioned two convictions for corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation of public property and for knowingly making a false declaration on oath Mr. Rind cannot be stated to be "of good character" or someone who "is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions" in terms of Article 62(1)(d). Therefore, on this count too he does not qualify to be elected, chosen or continue as member of Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

18.          Individuals must take responsibility for their actions. The court has been empowered to ensure implementation of the Constitution and the weight of its responsibility if individuals are unable to do so themselves. Mr. Rind manipulated his position for personal benefit and committed crimes. He did not stay away from public office, as the law required, but proceeded to file a false Nomination Form to again acquire it. Ethically, morally and constitutionally he betrayed himself and the people of Pakistan. Consequently this court is left with no option but to declare that Mr. Rind cannot hold the public office of Senator under Article 62(1)(d) and (g) and Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution of Pakistan and the writ of quo warranto is issued against him as he has usurped, intruded into and is unlawfully holding the public office of Senator. For the foregoing reasons Mr. Rind is also permanently disqualified to be elected or chosen as, and forever being a member of Parliament  and  respondents  Nos. 2  and   are  directed  to  ensure  the same.”

 

The approach adopted in the above mentioned two cases towards interpretation of the relevant provisions of Article 62 of the Constitution restricting their applicability to public conduct of a person affecting others rather than his private conduct not affecting generality of the populace has been found by me to be quite useful and the same is, therefore, approved as it renders the said provisions more capable of being applied and enforced by a court or tribunal with some degree of clarity and certainty. In the present case respondent No. 1 has been in public life for the last about thirty-six years, he has been holding the highest elected public offices in the country for most of the said period and the allegations leveled against him pertain to corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. Such allegations leveled against the said respondent, thus, surely attract the provisions of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution even when the above mentioned restrictive approach of interpretation is adopted.

 

122.     Concluding the discussion about the relevant four properties in London I hold that all the varying and ever changing stories about acquisition of the said properties advanced by the children of respondent No. 1 have remained unestablished from the flimsy, sketchy and inadequate record relied upon by them and such stories have even otherwise been found by me to be fantastic and unbelievable. We had been informed that Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif, respondent No. 7, had studied in England between the years 1992 and 1996, Mr. Hassan Nawaz Sharif, respondent No. 8, had studied in that country between the years 1994 and 1999 and the relevant properties had admittedly come in possession of respondent No. 1 and his family between the years 1993 and 1996. Two young students in occupation of four residential properties in one of the most expensive areas of London was surely extraordinary. Admittedly those two boys were not earning hands at that time and they had no independent source of income and were, thus, dependents of their father, respondent No. 1, till then. Instead of telling the truth the children of respondent No. 1 decided to hide behind divergent and conflicting stories which in the financial world were nothing but fairytales. All such stories and explanations, including those of investment, placement or retention of some funds belonging to their grandfather namely Mian Muhammad Sharif with Al-Thani family of Qatar in the year 1980 and settlement of such investment, placement or retention in the year 2005, are, therefore, categorically and unreservedly rejected by me. Even Mr. Salman Akram Raja, the learned counsel for the sons of respondent No. 1, had admitted before us in so many words that the information supplied by the children of respondent 1 regarding acquisition of the relevant properties in London was “incomplete”. On the authority of Lord Reid in the case of Haughton v. Smith (1975 A.C. 476, 500) it is said that the law may sometimes be an ass but it cannot be so asinine as that. This Court had observed in the case of Rashad Ehsan and others v. Bashir Ahmad and another (PLD 1989 SC 146) that “The law sometimes is called an ass but the Judge should, as far as it is possible, try not to become one”. Similarly in the case of Mst. Aziz Begum v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 1990 SC 899) this Court had reiterated “the principle” that the “law may be blind but the Judge is not”. The case in hand is not about asininity or blindness of any law but respondent No. 1 and his children wanted an asinine and blindfolded acceptance of their explanations in respect of acquisition of the relevant properties which I refuse to do. As regards respondent No. 1 he held very high public offices when his dependent children, and through them he himself, came in possession of the relevant very 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. He offered no explanation in respect of possession or acquisition of those properties in his two addresses to the nation, he claimed before the representatives of the nation in the National Assembly that the said properties had been “purchased” by the family and before this Court he went into a mode of complete denial. In the year 2010 the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, in an unprecedented move to clear his name from the shadow of the 2G scandal, had offered: “I shall be happy to appear before the Public Accounts Committee if it chooses to ask me to do so. I sincerely believe that like Caesar’s wife, the Prime Minister should be above suspicion.” In all his speeches mentioned above respondent No. 1 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 this 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. The learned counsel for respondent No. 1 was repeatedly reminded by us that by adopting that mode the said respondent was taking a big gamble but the respondent persisted with the same little realizing that when a court of law, and that too the highest Court of the land, asks for an explanation then there is no room left for gambling and one is under a legal obligation to come out clean which the said respondent did not or decided not to. Protection against self-incrimination available under Article 13 of the Constitution is relevant only to a criminal case which the present proceedings are not. Even otherwise, no such protection has been claimed by respondent No. 1 before us probably realizing that claiming such protection impliedly acknowledges criminality in the matter. 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.

 

123.     Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution provides as under:

 

“62.        (1) A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless-

---------------------

(f)            he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law; and ---------------------”

 

Article 63 of the Constitution provides as follows:

 

“63.        (1) A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), if

---------------------

(p)           he is for the time being disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) or of a Provincial Assembly under any law for the time being in force.

 

                Explanation.– For the purposes of this paragraph “law” shall not include an Ordinance promulgated under Article 89 or Article 128.

---------------------

(2)           If any question arises whether a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) has become disqualified from being a member, Speaker or, as the case may be, the Chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the Election Commission within thirty days and if he fails to do so within the aforesaid period it shall be deemed to have been referred to the Election Commission.

 

(3)           The Election Commission shall decide the question within ninety days from its receipt or deemed to have been received and if it is of the opinion that the member has become disqualified, he shall cease to be a member and his seat shall become vacant.”

               

Section 99(1)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 provides that

 

“99.        Qualifications and disqualifications.- (1) A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of an Assembly unless-

---------------------

(f)            he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and ameen;”

 

If a court of law declares a person to be otherwise than honest then he is no longer qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and if he has already been elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) then through loss of the requisite qualification he necessarily becomes disqualified from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution dealing with qualifications and disqualifications are overlapping in many ways and I find it difficult to accept the notion that Article 62 deals only with pre-election qualifications and Article 63 deals with post-election disqualifications only. The negative terminology used in Article 62(1) [“A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen”] and use of the word “disqualifications” in Article 62(2) besides the words “disqualified from being elected or chosen” used in Article 63(1) render the distinction between qualifications and disqualifications contained in Articles 62 and 63 quite illusory. Be that as it may, that issue is not strictly relevant to the case in hand. The declaration by this Court through the present judgment regarding lack of honesty of respondent No. 1 cannot by undone or ignored by the Speaker/Chairman or the Election Commission of Pakistan and such a declaration has to have an automatic effect. In the case of Muhammad Azhar Siddique and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 774) this Court had clarified the legal position as follows:

 

“43.        Now we turn to the argument of the learned counsel for Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani that every conviction, ipso facto, does not disqualify a person from being a Member of the Parliament. --------------------- It is to be seen that the respondent has been found guilty of contempt of Court ---------------------. Exactly, the same word i.e. ‘ridicule’ has been used in Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution. Thus, it has attracted the provision of disqualification. The 7-member Bench seized with the matter could have passed order of his disqualification at that time, but it seems that judicial restraint was exercised knowing that the convict had a right of appeal and review. --------------------- And as now a good number of petitions have been filed seeking enforcement of Fundamental Rights enshrined in Articles 9, 10A, 14, 17 and 25 of the Constitution as Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has continued his position as Prime Minister instead of resorting to the remedy available to him under the law, it is held that after having been convicted and sentenced for contempt of Court he has been disqualified, ipso facto, from being a Member of the Parliament. ---------------------

 

48.          Here, a word may also be said about the role and functions of the Election Commission after a question has been referred, or is deemed to have been referred to it, by the Speaker under Article 63(2). Article 63(3) provides that the Election Commission shall decide the question within ninety days from its receipt or deemed to have been received and if it is of the opinion that the member has become disqualified, he shall cease to be a member and his seat shall become vacant. Like the Speaker, the Election Commission also cannot sit in appeal over a concluded judgment of a superior court, and has to decide the question in the affirmative that the convicted person has become disqualified, therefore, his seat shall become vacant. As has been noted above, there is a clear distinction in respect of other disqualifications mentioned in Article 63(1), in respect whereof information is laid before the Speaker involving determination of controversial facts. Therefore, the Election Commission may, after a reference from the Speaker, undertake a scrutiny in such matters. But where there is a conviction recorded by a competent Court against a person, who is a Member of the Parliament, which has attained finality, the role and function of the Election Commission is confined to issuing notification of disqualification of the concerned Member on the basis of verdict of the Court.”

 

(underlining has been supplied for emphasis)

 

The same principle applies with equal force to a declaration made by a court of law regarding lack of honesty on the part of a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) as it is not possible for either the Speaker/Chairman or the Election Commission of Pakistan to override or sit in judgment over a judgment of a court in that regard.

 

124.     The learned counsel for the private respondents repeatedly urged before us that this Court ought to be slow in entering into issues which relate to morality as the primary domain of a court of law is legality of actions rather than their morality. We can appreciate the concerns voiced in that regard but at the same time we are bound by the oath of our office which requires us to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” and to discharge our duties “in accordance with the Constitution”. Some provisions of Article 62 of the Constitution certainly contain strong moral overtones but those provisions introduced into the Constitution by a military dictator have not been undone by the popularly elected parliaments in the last many decades. As long as the said provisions are a part of the Constitution the courts of the country are obliged not only to decide matters according to the same but also to enforce them whenever called upon to do so. Apart from that if honesty in holders of public offices is a moral issue then one need not be apologetic about enforcing such a constitutional obligation and if the people at large start ignoring the moral prerequisites in public life then there would be no better forum than the courts of the country to insist upon the values and ethos of the Constitution. We must not forget that the so-called moral provisions of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution are meant to be enforced even against those who claim to have popular support or who have already demonstrated their popular endorsement and, thus, popular support or endorsement of the person concerned has absolutely nothing to do with enforcement of those provisions of the Constitution. The said provisions of the Constitution lay down the threshold for entering into or retaining an elective public office and the courts of the country are mandated to apply and enforce the said thresholds. Sitting at the apex of judicial authority in the country this Court is the ultimate guardian not only of the letter but also the spirit of the Constitution even where a section of the society may have some reservations against some provisions of the Constitution. William O. Douglas, the longest serving Judge of the United States Supreme Court in the history of that country, stated in his interview with Time magazine on November 12, 1973 that “The Court’s great power is its ability to educate, to provide moral leadership”. He was, obviously, not talking of private morality but of social, political and constitutional morality.

 

125.     It has also been argued before us by all the learned counsel appearing for the private respondents that invoking jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and issuance of declarations and directions by this Court in exercise of that jurisdiction in matters of disqualification of elected representatives as a first and the final resort shall set a dangerous precedent and, therefore, this Court may not like to open the door to such a perilous course. This argument, however, conveniently overlooks the fact that, as already observed above, the present 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. Under Article 90(1) of the Constitution by virtue of his being the Prime Minister of the country respondent No. 1 is the Chief Executive of the Federation and it is practically he who appoints the heads of all the institutions in the country which could have inquired into or investigated the allegations leveled against respondent No. 1 and his family on the basis of the Panama Papers. The remedy of filing an Election Petition before an Election Tribunal under Article 225 of the Constitution is not available at this juncture. The Speaker of the National Assembly could have referred the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan under Article 63(2) of the Constitution but he has already dismissed various petitions filed before him in that regard by as many as twenty-two members of the National Assembly. It is proverbial that there is no wrong without a remedy. It was in the above mentioned unfortunate background that this Court had entertained these petitions and now this Court cannot turn around and shy away from deciding the matter simply because it may set a dangerous precedent. As a matter of fact it shall be a more dangerous precedent to set if this Court declines to attend to the issue with a message that if a powerful and experienced Prime Minister of the country/Chief Executive of the Federation appoints his loyalists as heads of all the relevant institutions in the country which can inquire into or investigate the allegations of corruption, etc. against such Prime Minister/Chief Executive of the Federation then a brazen blocking of such inquiry or investigation by such loyalists would practically render the Prime Minister/Chief Executive immune from accountability. The precedent to be set by this Court through the present petitions shall in fact be dangerous only for those Prime Ministers/Chief Executives of the Federation who try to capture or render ineffective all the institutions of accountability in the country in order to protect themselves leaving no other option with a whistleblower or an aggrieved or interested person but to approach this Court for interference in the matter as a first, and the only, resort. The precedent to be set by this Court through the present petitions should in fact be a warning to all those rulers who try to subjugate all the organs of power, enslave the institutions of accountability and then in a false sense of security and invincibility proclaim as Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Tamburlaine’ did by boasting that    

 

“I hold the Fates bound fast in iron chains,
And with my hand turn Fortune's wheel about,
And sooner shall the sun fall from his sphere
Than Tamburlaine be slain or overcome.”

 

While dwelling on the subject of setting a dangerous precedent by a court of law I am also reminded of the old bard William Shakespeare. The power of literature for commenting upon a reality through the medium of fiction is fascinating and an amazing example of the same is the following part of Shakespeare’s play Merchant of Venice which, though written hundreds of years ago in foreign climes, appears to have been written for nothing but the present case being handled by us in a different millennium and in a different continent. While trying to avoid execution of an oppressive judicial decree regarding payment of money by another Bassanio beseeched the Duke as follows:   

 

“Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;
Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority:
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.”

 

which imploring was immediately retorted by Portia in the following strong words:  

 

“It must not be; there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established:
'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
And many an error by the same example
Will rush into the state: it cannot be.”

 

and then what happened to that decree is another story. The punch lines in the above mentioned excerpt appear to be “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 respondent No. 1 because the original jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution has already been exercised by this Court in such matters in the cases of Muhammad Azhar Siddique and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 774) and Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Law and others (PLD 2012 SC 1089) and, thus, no new or dangerous precedent is being set by me. I may, however, clarify that the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution has been exercised by me in the present case in the backdrop of the peculiar and extraordinary circumstances of the case mentioned above and that this Court shall continue to be slow and circumspect in this regard where it is satisfied that the normal constitutional or statutory courts/tribunals/fora can conveniently, adequately and efficaciously attend to the relevant issues or where the existing institutions of inquiry, investigation, prosecution and accountability can do the job properly or can satisfactorily be activated for the purpose.

 

126.     As far as the issue regarding respondent No. 6 namely Mariam Safdar allegedly being a ‘dependent’ of her father namely Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is concerned I have found that the material produced before us sufficiently established that respondent No. 6 was a married lady having grown up children, she was a part of a joint family living in different houses situated in the same compound, she contributed towards some of the expenses incurred by the joint family, she submitted her independent tax returns, she owned sizeable and valuable property in her own name, she was capable of surviving on her own and, thus, she could not be termed or treated as a ‘dependent’ of her father merely because she periodically received gifts from her father and brothers. In this view of the matter nothing turned on respondent No. 1 not mentioning respondent No. 6 as his dependent in the nomination papers filed by him for election to NA-120 before the general elections held in the country in the year 2013.

 

127.     Through these petitions allegations had also been leveled against respondent No. 1 regarding evasion of tax on the proceeds of sale of the factory in Dubai which was sold for about 9 million US Dollars, regarding late filing of Wealth Statements for the years 2011 and 2012 (which allegation was not pressed during the arguments), regarding the gifts of Rs. 31,700,000 made by respondent No. 1 in favour of respondent No. 6 and of Rs. 19,459,440 by respondent No. 1 in favour of respondent No. 8 being sham and not disclosed, and in respect of the gifts received by respondent No. 1 from respondent No. 7 not having been treated as income from other sources. The learned counsel for respondent No. 1 explained before us that the said allegations attracted the provisions of Article 63(1)(o) of the Constitution and section 99(1A)(t) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 but in terms of the facts of the present case the disqualification mentioned in those provisions was not relevant. He maintained that the crucial factors for the said disqualification were “default” and “dues” and it had already been clarified by this Court in many a case referred to by him that in the absence of any adjudication there could not be any dues and, hence, no default could be alleged. According to him no determination had been made and no finding had been recorded by any tax authority against respondent No. 1 in respect of any tax due. He also clarified that respondent No. 1 was neither a Director nor a shareholder of the factory in Dubai. He had gone on to submit that the Wealth-Tax Act, 1963 was repealed in the year 2003, at the time of repeal of that law no proceeding was pending against respondent No. 1 and, therefore, at the present stage no officer or machinery was available to determine any concealment, etc. by the said respondent rendering the issue dead. With reference to the record placed before this Court he pointed out that the gifts made by respondent No. 1 in favour of respondents No. 6 and 8 were actually disclosed by respondent No. 1 in his Wealth Statements and such payments had been made through cheques which had also been placed on the record. As regards the gifts made by respondent No. 7 in favour of respondent No. 1 it was submitted by him that respondent No. 7 had a National Tax Number in Pakistan and he was a non-resident Pakistani and, therefore, gifts made by him in favour of his father could not be treated as income from other sources as was evident from the provisions of section 39(3) read with sections 81, 111, 114, 116, 120, 120(2) of the Income-Tax Ordinance, 2001. He also pointed out that by virtue of the provisions of sections 122(2) and 122(5) of the Income-Tax Ordinance, 2001 finality stood attached to the matter after five years of commencement of the assessment order even if there had been any concealment. In support of the submissions made above he had relied upon many cases decided by this Court. The above mentioned submissions of the learned counsel for respondent No. 1 have been found by me to be valid and, hence, acceptable. The allegations leveled by the petitioners regarding evasion of taxes by respondent No. 1 are, therefore, held not to have been established within the limited scope of the present petitions.

 

128.     Adverting to the two FIRs registered by the Federal Investigation Agency and a Reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau against respondent No. 1, respondent No. 10 and others I note that all those criminal proceedings had been quashed by the Lahore High Court, Lahore at a time when respondent No. 1 was serving as the Prime Minister of the country and the manner in which such proceedings were quashed, it is observed with respect, had left much to be desired. To top it all, neither the Federal Investigation Agency nor the National Accountability Bureau challenged such quashing of criminal proceedings before this Court.

 

129.     FIR No. 12 was registered at Police Station FIA/SIU, Islamabad on November 10, 1994 in respect of offences under sections 419, 420, 468, 471 and 109, PPC read with section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and Article 3 of the Holders of Representative Office (Punishment for Misconduct) Order, 1977 against Mukhtar Hussain and four Directors of Hudabiya Engineering (Pvt.) Limited. The final Challan was submitted in that case before a Special Court constituted under section 3 of the Offences in respect of Banks (Special Courts) Ordinance, 1984. The allegations in that case were that on August 26, 1993 two fake accounts were opened in the names of two persons namely Suleman Zia and Muhammad Ramzan in Habib Bank, A. G. Zurich, Lahore with small amounts and subsequently both were issued Dollar Bearer Certificates worth 750,000 US Dollars by the Union Bank Limited against cash receipt of Travelers Cheques encashed through American Express, New York. Allegedly the amount from these accounts was transferred to an account in the name of one Kashif Masood Zia at Bank of America, Lahore. Later on another account was opened in the name of Mrs. Nuzhat Gohar Qazi in Bank of America, Lahore and an amount of .05 million US Dollars was also transferred from her account to the account of the above mentioned persons. All those accounts were allegedly found to be fictitious. It was alleged that the accused persons Mukhtar Hussain and four Directors of Hudabiya Engineering (Pvt.) Limited, in collaboration with the officials of Habib Bank A. G. Zurich, Lahore and Bank of America, Lahore under the influence of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, managed to draw, by opening three fake accounts, an amount of Rs. 60 million by raising loan against the account of Kashif Masood Qazi. It was alleged that it was the accused persons’ black money which was fraudulently utilized by them to procure further wrongful gains. Respondent No. 1 was an accused person in that case. FIR No. 13 was registered at Police Station FIA/SIU, Islamabad on November 12, 1994 in respect of offences under sections 419, 420, 468 and 471, PPC, section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and Article 3 of the Holders of Representative Office (Punishment for Misconduct) Order, 1977 and the final Challan was submitted in that case before a Special Court constituted under section 3 of the Offences in respect of Banks (Special Courts) Ordinance, 1984. The allegations leveled in that case were that two fake accounts were opened in the names of two persons namely Muhammad Ramzan and Asghar Ali in Habib Bank A. G. Zurich, Lahore by depositing Travelers Cheques amounting to 2 million US Dollars in those accounts and on the request of the account-holders they were issued Dollar Bearer Certificates for the above two amounts. Subsequently another fake account was opened in Citi Bank, Lahore in the name of one Mrs. Sikandara Masood Qazi by depositing Dollar Bearer Certificate amounting to 150 million US Dollars. Later on Dollar Bearer Certificate for another amount of 1 million US Dollars was also deposited in her account. Another allegation leveled in that case was that Citi Bank, Karachi created a loan of Rs. 40 million in favour of Messers Hudabiya Paper Mills against the deposit of account of Mrs. Sikandara Masood Qazi against weak/inadequate security, which loan was still outstanding. Allegedly, during inquiry none of the above named account-holders could be traced at the given addresses. It was alleged that the accused persons, with the blessings of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, had not only indulged in money laundering but had also cheated the government. After submission of the Challans in connection with the above mentioned criminal cases before the trial court Writ Petitions No. 1361 and 1362 of 1994 were filed by the accused party seeking quashing of the FIRs but both those writ petitions were dismissed by the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench, Rawalpindi. Subsequently two bail applications (Criminal Miscellaneous Nos. 846/B and 847/B of 1994) were filed by the accused persons which were converted into Writ Petitions No. 1376 and 1377 of 1994 and were dismissed by a learned Division Bench of the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench, Rawalpindi on December 28, 1994 [Reference: Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif and 2 others v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Interior and 2 others (1995 P.Cr.L.J. 1224)]. Subsequently another Writ Petition No. 14532 of 1994 was filed at the Principal Seat of the Lahore High Court, Lahore seeking a direction to the investigating agency to refrain from taking any proceedings under the aforementioned two FIRs which writ petition was dismissed by a learned Judge-in-Chamber of that Court on December 19, 1994. An Intra-Court Appeal No. 16 of 1995 filed against that order of dismissal of the writ petition was pending before a Full Bench of the Lahore High Court, Lahore comprising of five Honourable Judges when two fresh writ petitions were filed by the accused party seeking saving the accused party from the agony of the trials which would be an exercise in futility. Admittedly no application had been filed by the accused party before the trial court under section 265-K, Cr.P.C. seeking their premature acquittal and the pretext for filing the writ petitions was that the trial court was proceeding with matters pending before it at a very slow pace! Without waiting for the decision of the Intra-Court Appeal pending before a 5-member Bench of the same Court, ignoring that two earlier writ petitions seeking quashing of the FIRs had been dismissed by the High Court itself, irrespective of the fact that two bail applications of the accused persons had already been dismissed by the High Court holding that prima facie reasonable grounds existed in believing in involvement of the accused persons in the offences in issue, disregarding dismissal of a writ petition seeking stoppage of proceedings of the FIRs and in the absence of any application having been filed before the trial court under section 265-K, Cr.P.C. the fresh writ petitions were allowed by a learned Division Bench of the Lahore High Court, Lahore, the Challans submitted in both the criminal cases were quashed and the accused persons were acquitted by invoking section 561-A, Cr.P.C. [Reference: Mian Hamza Shahbaz Sharif v. Federation of Pakistan and others (1999 P.Cr.L.J. 1584)]. Section 561-A, Cr.P.C. could not have been invoked by the High Court on that occasion because it had already been settled by this Court that the remedy under section 561-A, Cr.P.C. was not an additional or alternate remedy and if the jurisdiction under section 561-A, Cr.P.C. was available to the High Court then a writ petition was not competent. A novel course had been adopted in the matter by the High Court by allowing a writ petition by invoking and exercising its jurisdiction under section 561-A, Cr.P.C. and adoption of such a course by the High Court was nothing but extraordinary. Apart from that under section 561-A, Cr.P.C. the High Court could at best have ordered quashing of the criminal proceedings but it could not have ordered acquittal of the accused persons as the accused persons had never applied for their acquittal before the trial court under section 265-K, Cr.P.C. and the earlier writ petitions seeking quashing of the relevant FIRs had already been dismissed by the High Court itself. The High Court had not only quashed the Challans submitted in those two criminal cases but had also proceeded to take the extraordinary step of acquitting the accused persons in exercise of writ jurisdiction of that Court under Article 199 of the Constitution foreclosing any possibility of any fresh trial of the accused persons in view of the principle of autrefois acquit and astonishingly the Federal Investigation Agency or the State never bothered to challenge that judgment of the High Court before this Court. Respondent No. 1 was the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chief Executive of the Federation at that time and, thus, inaction of the Federal Investigation Agency or the State in the matter was quite understandable and in the process a financial scam involving millions of US Dollars was prematurely buried without any possibility of its resurrection unless at some future stage the State or the Federal Investigation Agency decides to challenge the said judgment of the High Court before this Court through a time-barred petition/appeal. Keeping in view the glaring and extraordinary circumstances mentioned above I might have been tempted to issue a direction to the State or the Federal Investigation Agency in that regard but inappropriateness of such a step has restrained me from doing that. An appellate court directing a party to a case to file a petition or an appeal before it in a matter decided by a Court below would surely be quite objectionable and offensive to judicial impartiality which I cannot allow to be compromised at any cost.

 

130.     Reference No. 5 of 2000 had been filed against respondents No. 1 and 10 and some others by the National Accountability Bureau before an Accountability Court with allegations of money laundering, etc. to the tune of Rs. 1242.732 million (over Rs. 1.2 billion) and in that Reference reliance had also been placed upon a judicial confession made by respondent No. 10 before a Magistrate First Class, Lahore on April 25, 2000. It was alleged in that Reference that respondent No. 10 was instrumental in laundering of 14.886 million US Dollars upon the instructions and for the benefit of respondent No. 1 by opening fake foreign currency accounts in different banks in the names of others. Writ Petition No. 2617 of 2011 filed before the Lahore High Court, Lahore in connection with that Reference was allowed by a learned Division Bench of the said Court on December 03, 2012 and the said Reference was quashed through a unanimous judgment but the learned Judges disagreed with each other over permissibility of reinvestigation of the matter whereupon the matter was referred to a learned Referee Judge who held on March 11, 2014 that reinvestigation of the case was not permissible [Reference: Hudabiya Paper Mills Ltd. v. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 2016 Lahore 667)]. There was an apparent flaw in the judgment rendered in that case by the learned Referee Judge because the reference to the learned Referee Judge was as to whether an observation could be made or not regarding reinvestigation of the case and the reference was not as to whether reinvestigation could be carried out or not! Even that judgment of the Lahore High Court, Lahore was not challenged by the National Accountability Bureau or the State before this Court and incidentally respondent No. 1 was again the Prime Minister of Pakistan at that time. The said Reference had been quashed by the Lahore High Court, Lahore because in the investigation preceding filing of the Reference the accused persons had not been associated and a confessional statement made by respondent No. 10 had been made before a Magistrate and not before the Accountability Court which was the trial court. I may observe with respect that soundness of both the said reasons prevailing with the High Court for quashing the relevant Reference was quite suspect. The relevant record produced before us shows that on April 20, 2000 a written application had been submitted by respondent No. 10 before the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau volunteering to make a confession and seeking tender of pardon. Respondent No. 10 personally appeared before the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau in that connection on April 21, 2000 and on the same day full pardon was tendered by the Chairman to him under section 26 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 whereafter respondent No. 10 made a confessional statement before a Magistrate First Class, Lahore on April 25, 2000. In view of this development in the Final Reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau on November 16, 2000 respondent No. 10 was referred to as a prosecution witness and not an accused person. In the said confessional statement made by respondent No. 10 under section 164, Cr.P.C. he had confessed to being a party to money laundering of 14.886 million US Dollars on the instructions and for the benefit of respondent No. 1 and also to opening of fake foreign currency accounts in different banks in the names of others. It is not denied that making of the said confessional statement and signing of the same had never been denied by respondent No. 10 and he had never approached any court seeking setting aside or annulment of that statement made by him and it was the accused persons in the above mentioned Reference who had maintained before the High Court that respondent No. 10 had made his confessional statement under coercion of the military regime of that time after remaining in custody for more than six months (from October 15, 1999 to April 25, 2000). Be that as it may the fact remains that in the Final Reference which was quashed by the High Court respondent No. 10 was not arrayed as an accused person and his status in that Reference was that of merely a prosecution witness and, thus, quashing of that Reference by the High Court did not entail respondent No. 10’s acquittal or smothering of any possibility of his trial on the said charges at any subsequent stage. It is also quite obvious that with quashing of the Reference and setting aside of the confessional statement of respondent No. 10 the pardon tendered to respondent No. 10 by the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau under section 26 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 ipso facto disappeared with an automatic revival of the said respondent’s status as an accused person who had never been acquitted and against whom no Reference had been quashed. As respondent No. 10 was not an accused person in the relevant Reference when it was quashed and reinvestigation of which was declared by the High Court to be impermissible, therefore, I see no reason why after restoration of respondent No. 10’s status as an accused person in that case reinvestigation to his extent and filing of a Reference against him cannot be undertaken or resorted to. This is more so because the reasons prevailing with the Lahore High Court, Lahore for quashing the Reference were not applicable to the case of respondent No. 10 as he had been associated with the investigation and there was evidence available against him other than his confessional statement. The stark reality is that the allegations of corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. involving over Rs. 1.2 billion and prosecution on the basis of such allegations had been scuttled by the High Court and this Court would not like to stand in the way of reopening of the said investigation or prosecution where even the smallest opening for such investigation or prosecution is available or legally possible. One of the prayers made before this Court by the petitioner in Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 is that the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau may be directed to file a petition/appeal before this Court against the judgment of the Lahore High Court, Lahore whereby Reference No. 5 of 2000 filed by the National Accountability Bureau had been quashed and reinvestigation of the matter was held to be impermissible and also that proceedings may be initiated before the Supreme Judicial Council against the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau under Article 209 of the Constitution for his removal from office. The circumstances in which Reference No. 5 of 2000 filed by the National Accountability Bureau had been quashed and reinvestigation of the matter was held by the High Court to be impermissible might have tempted me to issue a direction to the State or the National Accountability Bureau to challenge the said judgment of the High Court before this Court through a time-barred petition/appeal but I have found it to be inappropriate for an appellate court to direct a party to a case to file a petition or an appeal before it in a matter decided by a Court below. Issuance of such a direction can have the effect of compromising the impartiality of the appellate court and clouding its neutrality and, thus, I have restrained myself from issuing the direction prayed for. Initiating proceedings against the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau under Article 209 of the Constitution may involve some jurisdictional issues and the same may also be inappropriate for this Bench of the Court to order because two of the Members of this Bench are also Members of the Supreme Judicial Council and such Members may feel embarrassed in the matter. Apart from that we have been informed that the term of office of the present Chairman, National Accountability Bureau is about to expire in the next few months and his term of office is non-extendable.

 

131.     It may be true that the Challans in the above mentioned two FIRs registered with the Federal Investigation Agency had been quashed and the accused persons therein had been acquitted by the Lahore High Court, Lahore and Reference No. 5 of 2000 filed by the National Accountability Bureau before an Accountability Court had also been quashed by the said Court and thereby the allegations leveled against respondents No. 1 and 10 and some others in those matters had remained without a trial but the fact remains that the evidence collected or the material gathered by the investigating agencies in connection with those cases does not stand vanished and the same remains available and can be usefully utilized if such evidence or material is also relevant to some other allegations leveled against the said respondents or others.

 

132.     From the stands taken and the material produced by respondent No. 1 and his children before this Court it has emerged as an admitted position that respondent No. 1 was, and he still is, a holder of a public office when he and his children came in possession of the relevant properties in London between the years 1993 and 1996 and they are still in admitted possession of those assets which are claimed to be owned by one of the children of respondent No. 1 since the year 2006. It is again an undisputed fact that at the time of taking over possession of the said properties all the children of respondent No. 1 were non-earning students and his wife was a household lady with no independent sources of income of their own and, thus, they were dependents of respondent No. 1 at that time. No other claimant to those assets has surfaced anywhere so far. Section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 provides as follows:

 

“A holder of a public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices:-

---------------------

(v)           if he or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses, or has acquired right or title in any assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for or maintains a standard of living beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income ---”

 

Section 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 lays down as under:

 

“In any trial of an offence punishable under clause (v) of sub-section (a) of Section 9 of this Ordinance, the fact that the accused person or any other person on his behalf, is in possession for which the accused person cannot satisfactorily account, of assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, or that such person has, at or about the time of the commission of the offence with which he is charged, obtained an accretion to his pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account, the Court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that the accused person is guilty of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices and his conviction therefor shall not be invalid by reason only that it is based solely on such presumption.”

 

The value of the relevant assets in London is ostensibly disproportionate to the declared and known sources of respondent No. 1’s income when his tax returns produced before this Court are kept in view. Even when repeatedly required by this Court respondent No. 1 has refused to account for the said assets in London and has adopted a mode of complete denial vis-à-vis his connection with those assets. Adoption of such mode of denial and refusal/failure on the part of respondent No. 1 to produce any record prima facie amounts to failure to account for those assets and the matter, therefore, clearly and squarely attracts the provisions of section 9(a)(v) as well as section 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999. Hence, the need for the National Accountability Bureau to proceed against respondent No. 1 on the allegation of committing the offence of corruption and corrupt practices. It goes without saying that while proceeding against respondent No. 1 under section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 the evidence and material collected by the Federal Investigation Agency in connection with the above mentioned two FIRs and by the National Accountability Bureau in connection with its Reference No. 5 of 2000 mentioned above may also be utilized by the National Accountability Bureau and the Accountability Court if any such evidence or material is relevant to acquisition of the four properties in London. Quashing of the Challans and doubtful and premature acquittal in the cases registered with the Federal Investigation Agency or quashing of the National Accountability Bureau’s Reference by the Lahore High Court, Lahore did not mean that the evidence or material collected in those cases had disappeared or had been rendered unutilizable for any other purpose. Even the above mentioned report prepared by Mr. A. Rehman Malik of the Federal Investigation Agency may be utilized by the National Accountability Bureau and the Accountability Court while proceeding against respondent No. 1 and others under section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 if the said report and the evidence and material appended therewith or referred to therein has any nexus with acquisition of the relevant four properties in London. Similarly, the other assets acquired and the businesses set up by respondent No. 1’s children in Pakistan and abroad also need to be probed into by the National Accountability Bureau to find out whether respondent No. 1’s children have acted as Benamidars of respondent No. 1 in those assets and businesses or not and if so whether respondent No. 1 can satisfactorily account for those assets and businesses or not if he is discovered to be their actual owner.

 

133.     It is unfortunate that despite a passage of over one year since surfacing of the Panama Papers the Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue, respondent No. 5, has taken no serious step and has made no meaningful effort towards playing his due role in probing into the matter so as to find out whether any illegality had been committed by anybody in the matter or not. Except for issuing a few notices and writing a few letters the Federal Board of Revenue has not pursued the matter at all and such inaction and apathy can only be attributed to lack of will and dereliction of duty. The same is the case with respondent No. 2 namely Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Chairman, National Accountability Bureau who appeared before this Court and maintained that the National Accountability Bureau was cognizant of its duties and responsibilities in connection with the issues arising out of the Panama Papers but respondent No. 2 was waiting for the “regulators” to look into the matter first. We repeatedly asked him to elaborate as to who those “regulators” were and where did they figure in the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 but he did not even bother to respond to those questions and conveniently kept quiet! When his attention was drawn towards the provisions of section 18 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 according to which the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau could take cognizance of such a matter on his own he simply stated that he would take action in terms of the Ordinance. On that occasion the Court wondered who the referred to “regulators” could be because the same word had also been used in the two statements of the gentleman from Qatar brought on the record of the case by the children of respondent No. 1. When asked by the Court as to whether he would consider challenging before this Court the judgment passed by the Lahore High Court, Lahore quashing Reference No. 5 of 2000 and barring reinvestigation into that matter by the National Accountability Bureau or not he categorically stated that at the relevant time he had decided not to file any petition/appeal against that judgment and he had no intention to do that at this stage either. That stance of respondent No. 2 was found by me to be quite disturbing, to say the least, because the Reference quashed by the High Court involved allegations of corruption, corrupt practices and money laundering, etc. to the tune of over Rs. 1.2 billion and the split decision rendered by the High Court in that matter was, as discussed above, ostensibly not free from infirmities. It is admitted at all hands that it was respondent No. 1 who had appointed respondent No. 2 as the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. In Christopher Marlowe’s play ‘Doctor Faustus’ Doctor Faustus had sold his soul to Lucifer (the Devil) for a temporary worldly gain which had ultimately led to his perpetual damnation and it appears that in the present case respondent No. 2 had also decided to act similarly for the purpose of repaying his benefactor. Such a possibility of the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau being beholden to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly for his appointment and thereby extending favours to them and refusing to proceed against them when otherwise required to do so had been commented upon by me in the case of Shahid Orakzai v. Pakistan through Secretary Law, Ministry of Law, Islamabad (PLD 2011 SC 365) as follows:

 

“36.        --------------------- In the past not too distant complaints of persecution of the political opposition in the country by the government of the day through utilization of the National Accountability Bureau or its predecessor institutions had unfortunately been too many and willingness of the heads of such institutions to slavishly carry out and execute the vendetta of the government of the day against its opponents had also been shamefully rampant. It was in that background that at a time when there was no Parliament in existence this Court had recommended in the case of Khan Asfandyar Wali and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2001 SC 607) that in the matter of appointment of Chairman, National Accountability Bureau consultation ought to be made by the President with the Chief Justice of Pakistan and that recommendation had been given effect to through the National Accountability Bureau (Amendment) Ordinance XXXV of 2001 but subsequently through the National Accountability Bureau (Amendment) Ordinance CXXXIII of 2002 the Chief Justice of Pakistan had been excluded from the consultees and he was substituted by the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly who were to be consulted by the President before making an appointment of Chairman, National Accountability Bureau. That deletion had come about because by that time the Parliament had once again come into existence and consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly was expected to go a long way in allaying fears and apprehensions of the political opposition regarding its possible persecution and victimization by the government of the day through the National Accountability Bureau and its Chairman. The spirit of the amended provisions, thus, was that the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly would be taken on board, his opinion would be given due weight and consideration and he would have an effective say in the matter of appointment of Chairman, National Accountability Bureau so that the political opposition in the country may not have an occasion to cry foul in the matter.

 

37.          As time progressed another dimension stood added to the issue when, apart from apprehended persecution of the political opposition, the National Accountability Bureau, which happens to be a premier and high-profile anti-corruption institution of the country, started being perceived as an institution which was possibly being misused for covering up corruption at high places and such cover up was perceived to be controlled and managed through appointment of its handpicked Chairman. It was in that backdrop that in the case of Dr. Mobashir Hassan and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2010 SC 265) this Court reiterated its earlier recommendation and suggestion with regard to consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan in the matter of appointment of Chairman, National Accountability Bureau. That recommendation and suggestion was once again repeated by this Court in the case of The Bank of Punjab v. Haris Steel Industries (Pvt.) Ltd. and others (supra). It must be appreciated that consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan are, in the developing scenario, essentially meant for separate noble and laudable purposes which are both directed towards achieving the very objects for which the National Accountability Bureau was established, i.e. elimination of corruption by persons holding public offices and achievement of such objects through a process which is just, fair, impartial and evenhanded. --------------------- Similarly, corruption being an unfortunate bane of our society in the current phase of our history and even the high public offices being not immune from serious allegations in that regard, leaving the matter of appointment of the head of the most important anti-corruption institution in the country in the hands only of those very persons who could possibly, in future or present, be a subject of inquiries, investigations or trials for corruption would, apart from giving rise to the issue of conflict of interest, defeat the very object of the relevant law and would, thus, also prejudicially affect, directly or indirectly, the Fundamental Rights of the citizens at large. --------------------- ”

 

(underlining has been supplied for emphasis)

 

As neutrality and impartiality of respondent No. 2 in the matter of proceeding against respondent No. 1 for commission of the offence under section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 stands visibly and demonstrably compromised, therefore, it would be in the fitness of things if he is restrained from exercising any power, authority or function of the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau in relation to the proceedings to be initiated by the said Bureau against respondent No. 1 and in respect of such proceedings all the powers, authority and functions of the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau may be exercised by an Implementation Bench of this Court to be constituted by the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan for which a request is being made through the present judgment.

 

134.     In the case of Air Marshal (Retd.) Muhammad Asghar Khan v. General (Retd.) Mirza Aslam Baig, Former Chief of Army Staff and others (PLD 2013 SC 1) a declaration was made by this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution to the effect that corruption and corrupt practices had been committed in the holding of a general election in the country and in the judgment passed in that case respondent No. 1’s stated involvement in the matter had been referred to twice in that context and the matter of criminality of respondent No. 1 and others in that connection was required to be investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency. Similarly in the case of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and another v. President of Pakistan and others (PLD 1998 SC 388) the constitutional issue regarding dissolution of the National Assembly by the President of Pakistan had been decided by this Court with reference to different grounds of dissolution including the allegation of rampant corruption but later on it had been clarified by this Court in Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto v. President of Pakistan and 2 others (PLD 2000 SC 77) through a review petition that the constitutional aspects of the case had been decided by this Court only upon a tentative appraisal of the material produced on the issue of corruption, the conclusions arrived at by the Court were restricted only to the constitutional context of dissolution of the National Assembly and, therefore, the observations recorded in the constitutional matter were not to be treated as proof of the charges for any other purpose. I would, therefore, like to clarify in the present case in advance that the declarations and the observations made by me in the constitutional context shall not influence or prejudice the inquiry, investigation or prosecution of any criminal activity or conduct involved in the matter and that the Accountability Court to be seized of the case shall adjudicate upon the criminal aspect of this case without being influenced or prejudiced by anything observed or done by this Court in the present proceedings.

 

135.     For what has been discussed above these petitions are allowed and it is declared by me as follows:

 

(i)         All the versions advanced by respondent No. 1’s children explaining how the relevant four properties in London (Properties No. 16, 16a, 17 and 17a, Avenfield House, Park Lane, London W1K 7AF, United Kingdom) had come in possession of respondent No. 1’s immediate family or how the said properties had been acquired by the family have been found by me to be conflicting and unbelievable and the same are, therefore, rejected.

 

(ii)        Respondent No. 1 namely Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan/Member of the National Assembly 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 properties in London.

 

(iii)       As a consequence of the declaration issued regarding lack of honesty on the part of respondent No. 1 the said respondent has become disqualified from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and section 99(1)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and, therefore, he is liable to be denotified by the Election Commission of Pakistan as a member of the National Assembly forthwith with a consequence that he ceases to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan from the date of denotification.

 

(iv)       Respondent No. 1 was, and he still is, a holder of a public office and his children have admittedly been in possession of the relevant properties in London since the years 1993 and 1996 when they were dependents of respondent No. 1; the value of the relevant assets in London is ostensibly disproportionate to the declared and known sources of respondent No. 1’s income when his tax returns produced before this Court are kept in view; respondent No. 1 has failed/refused to account for the said assets in London and has adopted a mode of complete denial vis-à-vis his connection with those assets which prima facie amounts to failure/refusal to account for those assets; and the matter, therefore, clearly and squarely attracts the provisions of section 9(a)(v) as well as section 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 necessitating the National Accountability Bureau to proceed against respondent No. 1 and any other person connected with him in that regard.

 

(v)       While proceeding against respondent No. 1 and any other person connected with him in respect of the offence under section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 the evidence and material collected by the Federal Investigation Agency in connection with FIRs No. 12 and 13 dated November 10, 1994 and November 12, 1994 respectively and by the National Accountability Bureau in connection with its Reference No. 5 of 2000 can also be utilized by the National Accountability Bureau and the Accountability Court if any such evidence or material is relevant to possession or acquisition of the relevant properties in London. Even the report prepared by Mr. A. Rehman Malik of the Federal Investigation Agency in September 1998 and the evidence and material appended therewith or referred to therein can be utilized by the National Accountability Bureau and the Accountability Court while proceeding against respondent No. 1 and any other person connected with him in respect of the said offence if the said report and the evidence and material appended therewith or referred to therein has any nexus with possession or acquisition of the relevant properties in London.

 

(vi)      Similarly, the other assets acquired and the businesses set up by respondent No. 1’s children in Pakistan and abroad also need to be probed into by the National Accountability Bureau to find out whether respondent No. 1’s children have acted as Benamidars of respondent No. 1 in those assets and businesses or not and if so whether respondent No. 1 can satisfactorily account for those assets and businesses or not if he is discovered to be their actual owner.

 

(vii)     Respondent No. 10 namely Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar was not arrayed as an accused person in the Final Reference No. 5 of 2000 filed by the National Accountability Bureau and his status in that Reference was merely that of a prosecution witness when the said Reference was quashed against the accused persons therein by the Lahore High Court, Lahore and reinvestigation qua them was barred and, thus, quashing of that Reference by the High Court did not entail respondent No. 10’s acquittal or smothering of any possibility of his trial on the said charges at any subsequent stage. Upon quashing of that Reference and setting aside of the confessional statement of respondent No. 10 by the High Court the pardon tendered to respondent No. 10 by the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau under section 26 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 ipso facto disappeared with an automatic revival of the said respondent’s status as an accused person in that Reference who had never been acquitted and against whom no Reference had been quashed. It is, therefore, declared that after restoration of respondent No. 10’s status as an accused person in that case reinvestigation to his extent and filing of a Reference against him can be undertaken or resorted to by the National Accountability Bureau.

 

136.     On the basis of the declarations made above the following directions are hereby issued by me:

 

(i)         The Election Commission of Pakistan is directed to issue a notification of disqualification of respondent No. 1 namely Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) with effect from the date of announcement of the present judgment.

 

(ii)        The President of Pakistan is required to take necessary steps under the Constitution to ensure continuation of the democratic process through parliamentary system of government in the country.

 

(iii)       The National Accountability Bureau is directed to proceed against respondent No. 1 and any other person connected with him in respect of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 and during such proceedings  the evidence and material collected by the Federal Investigation Agency in connection with FIRs No. 12 and 13 dated November 10, 1994 and November 12, 1994 respectively and by the National Accountability Bureau in connection with its Reference No. 5 of 2000 besides the report prepared by Mr. A. Rehman Malik of the Federal Investigation Agency in September 1998 and the evidence and material appended therewith or referred to therein may also be utilized by the National Accountability Bureau if any such evidence or material is relevant to or has nexus with possession or acquisition of the relevant properties in London. 

 

(iv)       The National Accountability Bureau is also directed to probe into the other assets acquired and businesses set up by respondent No. 1’s children in Pakistan and abroad to find out whether respondent No. 1’s children have acted as Benamidars of respondent No. 1 in those assets and businesses or not and if so whether respondent No. 1 can satisfactorily account for those assets and businesses or not if he is discovered to be their actual owner.

 

(v)        As neutrality and impartiality of the incumbent Chairman, National Accountability Bureau Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has been found by me to be compromised in the matters of respondent No. 1, therefore, he is directed not to exercise any power, authority or function in respect of the matters directed above. The Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan is requested to constitute an Implementation Bench of this Court in the above mentioned regard and in the interest of doing complete justice it is ordered that all the powers, authority and functions of the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau in the above mentioned matters of respondents No. 1 shall henceforth be exercised by the said Implementation Bench and the relevant officials of the National Accountability Bureau shall seek all the necessary orders in those matters from the Implementation Bench till Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry completes his current non-extendable term of office. The Implementation Bench shall also monitor the progress made by the National Accountability Bureau in the matters referred to above and it shall also supervise the investigation being conducted by it in the matters as and when found necessary and called for besides issuing any order deemed expedient in the interest of justice.

 

(vi)       The National Accountability Bureau is directed to proceed against respondent No. 10 namely Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar in connection with its Reference No. 5 of 2000 wherein the said respondent was not an accused person when the said Reference was quashed by the Lahore High Court, Lahore and reinvestigation against the accused persons therein was barred because after quashing of that Reference against the accused persons therein and after setting aside of the confessional statement of respondent No. 10 his status in that Reference stood revived as an accused person against whom no Reference had been quashed and reinvestigation qua him was never ordered to be barred.

           

 

 

 

(Asif Saeed Khan Khosa)

Judge


EJAZ AFZAL KHAN, J.- Petitioner in Const. P. No. 29 of 2016 seeks: disqualification of respondents No. 1, 9 and 10; recovery of money laundered alongwith properties purchased through the British Virgin Islands Companies and Companies in other safe havens; issuance of a direction against respondent No. 2 to discharge his obligation under Section 9 and 18 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 by taking the investigation in mega corruption cases to their logical end; placement of the name of Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family members named in the Panama Leaks on the Exit Control List (ECL); issuance of an order to initiate claims on behalf of the Government of Pakistan for recovery of properties in question and direction against the Chairman Federal Board of Revenue to scan and scrutinize the tax returns and assets declaration of respondent No. 1 and his family.

2.                     The case of the petitioner, so to speak, is that respondent No. 1 in his address to the nation on 05.04.2016 and to the Parliament on 16.05.2016 made false statements which are not only contradictory but also in conflict with the statements made by his sons, respondent No. 7 and 8 herein; that he tried to explain the assets of his family members but omitted to mention what they invested and earned in Dubai; that a tripartite agreement witnessing the sale of 75% shares in Gulf Steel Mill at Dubai has been brought on the record but a look at the said agreement would reveal that the sale did not bring them any cash, as its proceeds amounting to AED 21 Million were adjusted against the debt liability of BCCI Bank; that the remaining 25% shares were sold subsequently to the same vendee but how its proceeds swelled up to AED 12 Million is anybody’s guess; that how did this money, irrespective of its source, reach Jeddah, Qatar and the U.K. is again anybody’s guess; that respondent No. 7 pretended to become the owner of flats No. 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A at Avenfield House Park Lane London in 2006 but according to the order of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division in the case of Al-Taufeeq Company for Investment Funds Limited. Vs. Hudaibia Paper Mills Limited and three others, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants had a beneficial interest in the assets specified in the schedule thereto; that respondent No. 1 has consistently evaded income tax on the sums remitted to him as gift by his son Hussain Nawaz, respondent No. 7 herein, with the connivance of the Chairman FBR; that frank admission of respondent No. 6 in her interview that she is still dependent on her father and the fact that she is husbanded by a person who has neither any source of income nor pays any taxes leave no doubt that she is a dependent of respondent No. 1 for all legal and practical purposes; that the correspondence between Mr. Errol George, Director FIA, British Virgin Islands and Mossack Fonseca & Co. (B.V.I.) Limited shows that respondent No. 6 is the beneficial owner of the flats in London; that when it has been established on the record that respondent No. 6 is a dependent of respondent No. 1 and the correspondence between Mr. Errol George, Director FIA and Mossack reveals that respondent No. 6 is the beneficial owner of the flats, respondent No. 1 was duty bound to disclose her assets in his tax returns and that his failure to do so would expose him to disqualification under Articles 62(1)(f) and 63(1)(o) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; that even if it is assumed that respondent No. 6 by virtue of owning the flats worth millions cannot be termed as a dependent of respondent No. 1, the latter cannot lay his hands off the ownership of the flats as respondent No. 6 had no means to purchase them in 1993-1994; that it would still be a case of concealment of assets which would expose respondent No. 1 to disqualification in terms of the provisions of the Constitution mentioned above; that how did the Sharif family establish Azizia Steel Mill at Jeddah, where did they get the means of investment from, how long did it remain functional and when did the Sharif family dispose it of are the questions shrouded in mystery inasmuch as they have not been witnessed by anything in black and white; that how did its sale proceeds reach the U.K. without involving any banking channel is another dark spot of the story where no light has been shed by respondents No. 1, 7 and 8; that the other sums running into millions gifted by respondent No. 7 to respondent No. 1 also raise questions about the legitimacy of their source and vulnerability of respondent No.1 to tax liability notwithstanding the sums have been transmitted through banking channels; that the tax and the wealth tax statements of respondent No. 6 for the years 2011-2012 reflect her shareholding in six companies without disclosing the source enabling her to acquire them; that expenses incurred by respondent No. 6 on travelling and acquisition of a valuable car have not been accounted for; that it has never been the case of respondent No. 6, nor can it be that her husband catered therefor when he paid no tax prior to 2013; that where no explanation for her princely extravagance is coming forth it can safely be deduced that she is still a dependent of respondent No. 1; that even the purpose of establishing offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands is no other but to protect the looted and laundered money which is an offence of the gravest form and that the people indulging in such activities have no right to hold the highest office of the Prime Minister; that the document purported to be the trust deed showing respondent No. 7 as beneficiary and respondent No. 6 as the trustee does not fit in with the story set up by respondent No.1 when considered in the light of the orders passed by the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division in the case cited above; that respondents No. 6, 7 or 8 could not claim the ownership of flats purchased in 1993 when they being 20, 21 and 17 years old respectively at the time had no independent sources of income; that interview of respondent No. 8 with Tim Sebastien in November, 1999 belies the story thus set up in the trust deed; that nothing would turn much on establishment of the Jeddah Steel Mill, its sale and transmission of its sale proceeds to the U.K. in 2005 when none of the events has been witnessed by any documentary evidence; that the report of
Mr. A. Rehman Malik,  he submitted as Additional Director General, FIA to the then President of Pakistan is replete with details as to how the Sharif family laundered money, how it opened foreign currency accounts in the names of fake persons for converting black money into white and what was the design behind forming offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Jersey Island; that the confessional statement of Mr. Ishaq Dar respondent No.10 herein is another piece of evidence giving the details of the money laundered by the Sharif family; that the case involving respondents No. 1 and 10 has been quashed by the Lahore High Court on flimsy and fanciful grounds; that respondent No. 2 despite knowing that the case has been quashed on flimsy and fanciful grounds did not file an appeal against the judgment of the Lahore High Court and thus failed to do what he was required by law to do; that where did the Working Capital Fund provided to Flagship Investments Limited come from as is indicated in its financial statement for the period ending on 31st March, 2002 has neither been explained by respondent No. 1 nor respondent No. 8; that the stance of respondent No. 1 that the money went to the hands of respondents No. 7 and 8 after the sale of Jeddah Steel Mills is also belied by the financial statements of the aforesaid company as it already had sufficient capital in its accounts before the said sale; that even the bearer share certificates cannot bring respondents No. 1 and 6 out of the slimy soil unless they are proved to have been registered in conformity with Section 41 of the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004; that a bearer share in a company is disabled for a period during which it is held by a person other than a custodian who is approved by the Commission in terms of Section 50-A(1) and 50-B of the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001; that transfer or purported transfer of an interest in the bearer share certificate is void if effected during the period it is disabled as it does not carry any of the entitlement which it would otherwise carry subject to sub-section 3 of Section 68 of the Act; that whether the bearer share was transferred to Hussain Nawaz or any other person in accordance with Section 68 of the BVI Business Companies Act is for him to prove and that where he fails to prove it, transfer of any interest in the bearer share certificates shall be void.

3.                     The case of the petitioner in Civil Petition No. 30 of 2016 in nutshell is that respondent No. 1 looted and laundered the money, formed British Virgin Island Companies, purchased as many as four flats at Avenfield House Park Lane London in the names of his dependents who at that time had no source of income; that he failed to declare their assets in his tax returns; that in his speech addressing the nation and the speech addressing the Parliament he stated many things which being false, incorrect and in conflict with the statement of respondent No. 7 expose him to disqualification under Articles 62(1)(f) and 63(1)(o) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; that the letter of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani being concocted and based on hearsay cannot come to his rescue nor can it save him from disqualification in terms of the Articles mentioned above. To support his contentions the petitioner placed reliance on the cases of Imtiaz Ahmed Lali. Vs. Ghulam Muhammad Lali (PLD 2007 SC 369), Mian Najeeb-ud-Din Owasi and another. Vs. Amir Yar Waran and others (PLD 2013 SC 482), Muhammad Rizwan Gill. Vs. Nadia Aziz and others (PLD 2010 SC 828), Muddasar Qayyum Nahra. Vs. Ch. Bilal Ijaz and others (2011 SCMR 80), Malik Umar Aslam. Vs. Mrs. Sumaira Malik and others (2014 SCMR 45) and Sadiq Ali Memon. Vs. Returning Officer, NA-237, Thatta-I and others (2013 SCMR 1246).

4.                     Case of respondent No. 1 is that prayers made in the petition are vague and generalized; that issuance of a direction is sought against the Chairman NAB to discharge his obligations under the NAB Ordinance, 1999 but the cases pending investigation in mega corruption events have not been mentioned; that direction against respondent No. 4 for placing the name of Mian Nawaz Sharif and his family members named in Panama Leaks on the ECL is sought but no argument has been addressed in support of this prayer; that an order is sought to be passed against respondents No. 2 and 3 directing them to initiate claims on behalf of the Government of Pakistan for recovery of the properties but none of them has been identified; that yet another direction is sought to be issued against respondent No. 5 to probe and scrutinize the tax returns and assets declaration of respondent No. 1 and his entire family but none of its members has been named in the petition; that the last prayer tends to stretch the gamut of controversy to an extreme which is unworkable altogether; that with the prayer of this nature nothing can be pinned on respondent No. 1 when he has no BVI Company or any other company of the sort; that respondent No. 1 cannot be dragged in the controversy stirred in the petition stemming from the Panama Leaks when he is neither a director nor a shareholder nor a beneficial owner nor a guarantor in any of the BVI Companies; that the speeches addressing the nation and the Parliament respectively giving broad outlines of the business established and pursued by late Mian Muhammad Sharif cannot be construed like pleadings nor could they be considered as item-wise replies to the allegations sworn on an affidavit; that conflict between the statements of respondent No. 1 and that of respondents No. 7 and 8 cannot be blown out of proportion so long as the latter have not been proved to be correct; that respondent No. 1 giving the outlines of the business of his father in his speech may have made errors or omissions, but when there is nothing on the record to show that intention behind them was suppression of truth, they cannot be used to his detriment in any proceeding; that after the amendment in clause 1(f) of Article 62 of the Constitution, every person shall be deemed to be sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen unless a declaration to the contrary has been given by a court of law; that since no such declaration has been given by any court of law it cannot be given by this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, that too, when it is sought on the basis of the facts which are seriously disputed; that no finding about disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution or Sections 78(1)(d) or 99(1)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 could be given unless the facts constituting such disqualification are proved or admitted; that this is what has been held by this Court in the judgments rendered in the cases of Muhammad Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry. Vs. Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar and others (2016 SCMR 1), Malik Iqbal Ahmad Langrial. Vs. Jamshed Alam and others (PLD 2013 SC 179), Muhammad Khan Junejo. Vs. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, M/o Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and others (2013 SCMR 1328), Allah Dino Khan Bhayo. Vs. Election Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad and others (2013 SCMR 1655), Abdul Ghafoor Lehri. Vs. Returning Officer, PB-29, Naseerabad-II and others (2013 SCMR 1271) Muhammad Siddique and another Vs. Federation of Pakistan (2013 SCMR 1665), Sadiq Ali Memon Vs.  Returning Officer, NA-237, Thatta-1 and others (2013 SCMR 1246), Mian Najeeb-ud-Din Owasi and another Vs. Amir Yar Waran and another  (PLD 2013 SC 482), Mudassar Qayyum Nahra Vs. Ch. Bilal Ijaz and others (2011 SCMR 80), Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan Vs. Muhammad Ajmal and another (PLD 2010 SC 1066), Haji Nasir Mehmood Vs. Mian Imran Masood and others (PLD 2010 SC 1089), Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmed Khan Bar Vs. Chief Election Commissioner, Islamabad and others (PLD 2010 SC 817), Muhammad Rizwan Gill Vs. Nadia Aziz and others (PLD 2010 SC 828), Muhammad Siddique Baloch Vs. Jehangir Khan Tareen (PLD 2016 SC 97), Rai Hassan Nawaz  Vs. Haji Muhammad Ayub and another (Civil Appeal No.532 of 2015 decided on 25.5.2016) and Ishaq Khan Khakwani Vs. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (PLD 2015 SC 275); that where Article 63(2) of the Constitution itself provides a mode and even a forum for deciding about the fate of a person who has become disqualified from being a member, this Court while exercising jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution could not usurp the functions of such forum; that where no nexus of respondent No. 1 has been established with the Panama Leaks, his disqualification cannot be sought on the basis of his speech in the parliament or an omission therein, as it being privileged by virtue of Article 66 of the Constitution cannot be used against him in any proceeding of any court; that there is no equation between this case and that of Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani, Prime Minister of Pakistan. Vs. Assistant Registrar, Supreme Court of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 466) as in the latter case the charge of defying the judgments of this Court against the then Prime Minister, culminating in his disqualification, was proved to the hilt whereas nothing of that sort is available against respondent No.1 in this case; that where no documentary or any other aboveboard evidence pointing to the involvement of respondent No. 1 in acquisition of the flats is available on the record nothing can be fished out of his speech delivered in the Parliament; that the privilege extended to the Members of Parliament has been recognized the world over and even in the neighbouring countries as is evident from Section 6 of the Constitution of the USA and Article 105 of the Constitution of India notwithstanding they are phrased and punctuated a bit differently; that Erskine May in his monumental work titled as the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament cites a line of precedents recognizing such a right; that what is the stature of this treatise in our jurisprudence can well be gathered from the words used by his lordship Mr. Justice A. R. Cornelius, as he then was, in the judgment rendered in the case of Pakistan. Vs. Ahmed Saeed Kirmani  (PLD 1958 SC 397) when he said “I, therefore, need make no apology for referring to this work in this judgment as an authority upon point of procedure in the conduct of Parliament or legislative Assembly, which are not dealt with in detail in the Rules of Procedure of that Parliament or Assembly”; that this privilege has to be respected notwithstanding it is an exemption from the general law because the House cannot perform its functions without unimpeded use of the services of its Members; that even the Constitution of Bangladesh recognizes the unqualified and absolute privilege of a Member of Parliament in respect of any speech made by him in Parliament or any Committee thereof; that such privilege is not lost merely because the speech is telecast or published in newspapers; that the Court has no jurisdiction to proceed against him for what he said in Parliament or any Committee of Parliament, whether the statement is true or false and whether the statement is made in good faith or maliciously; that case of Owen Robert Jennings. Vs. Rojer Edward Wyndham (2004 UK PC 36), Regina. Vs. Chaytor [2011] 1 A.C. 684] A. Vs. United Kingdom [2003] 36 E.H.R.R. 51 and Prebble Vs. Television New Zealand Ltd. [1995] 1 AC 321 are the luminous examples from the U.K. jurisdiction; that the dicta rendered in the cases of The Commissioner of Income Tax, Kolkata Vs. Padam Chand Ram Gopal  (AIR 1970 SC 1577) and In re Under Article 143 of the Constitution of India (AIR 1965 SC 745) radiate recognition of this privilege; that the words used in Article 66 being clear and unambiguous need no precedent, all the same the judgment rendered in the case of Syed Masroor Ahsan and others. Vs. Ardeshir Cowasjee and others (PLD 1998 SC 823) is quite illustrative and enlightening on the subject; that the petitioner failed to make out a case for disqualification of respondent No. 1 in terms of Articles 62(1)(f) and 63(1)(o) of the Constitution as he neither defaulted nor delayed payment of any wealth tax; that if at all any part of the wealth of respondent No. 1 escaped assessment, the Wealth Tax Officer on receipt of a definite information could reopen the matter in accordance with Section 17 of the Wealth Tax Act, 1963; that the petitioner has no locus standi to say even a word in this behalf before this Court when it has never been his case that the competent officer despite receipt of a definite information in this behalf remained unmoved; that prayers No. 1 and 6 being inconsistent with each other cannot be countenanced when the fate of the former is dependent on the fate of the latter; that para 18(xi) of Constitution Petition No. 29 of 2016 is incorrect when the amounts remitted and received through gifts are fully reflected in the debit and credit entries of the respective accounts; that the amount remitted through gifts by respondent No. 7 to respondent No. 1 is not liable to be taxed when it clearly and squarely falls within the purview of Section 39(3) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001; that when respondent No. 6 has been living on her own and has independent sources of income none of the definitions given in the Black’s Law Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary, Workman’s Compensation Act, 1923, Provident Funds Act, 1925, Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, Employees Social Insurance Ordinance, 1992, Immigration Ordinance, 1979, Federal National Foundation Ordinance, 2002 or any other law could make her a dependent; that reference to the judgments rendered in the cases of Fahim ud Din Farhum Vs. Managing Director Member WAPDA, WAPDA House, Lahore and another (2001 SCMR 1955), Hand. Vs. Ball and others [1947](1) Chancery 228) and Re Baden’s Deed Trusts Baden and others. Vs. Smith and others (1969 1 ALL. E.R. (1016) are instructive and advantageous on the point; that where the controversy emerging in this case is factual and cannot be resolved without recording evidence, this Court in view of the dictum rendered in the case of Pakistan Muslim League (N) Vs. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 2007 SC 642) would desist from giving any decision on it while hearing a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution; that in the case of Muhammad Asif. Vs. Federation of Pakistan (PLD 2014 SC 206) this Court, no doubt, intervened and handed down a verdict but on the basis of the documents and the record which went undisputed; that this Court in view of Articles 184(3) and 187 of the Constitution has power to issue such direction, order or decree as may be necessary for doing complete justice in any case or matter pending before it but where a matter involving the same issue is pending before a forum having power and competence to grant the desired relief, this Court does not interfere; that the matter raised in this petition also calls for the same treatment where Writ Petition No. 31193/16 filed in the Lahore High Court and as many as four petitions raising the same issues filed in the Election Commission against respondent No. 1 and one against respondent No. 9 are pending adjudication and the fora mentioned above have the power and competence to grant the desired relief.

5.                     The case of the petitioner in Const. P. No. 03/2017 is that where respondent No. 4 in the said petition admitted that he and his family members set up Gulf Steel Mill in Dubai, disposed it of, set up Azizia Steel Mill in Jeddah and disposed that of, it is for him to prove the trail of money and legitimacy of means whereby he and his dependents purchased flats No. 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A at Avenfield House Park Lane London; that where he did not prove either of them nor did he disclose the assets of his dependents, he is liable to be disqualified under Articles 62(1)(f) and 63(1)(o) of the Constitution; that where respondent No. 4 has also violated the Oath of his Office in his capacity as MNA as well as the Prime Minister, he is no more honest and ameen, therefore, he is also liable to be disqualified on this score; that respondent No. 4 in CP. No. 03 of 2017 cannot claim any privilege or even immunity under Articles 66 and 248 of the Constitution respectively when his speech is studded with lies and distortions and related to the matters which are essentially personal; that respondent No.4 while explaining the assets of his family used first person plural in his speeches in and outside the Parliament but while defending himself in the Court he denied to have any nexus with the assets of respondents No. 6, 7 and 8; that where respondents No.6, 7 and 8 have no sources of income, it is for respondent No.4 to explain where did they come from and what was the channel they were taken through for investment abroad; that where no evidence comes forth it shall be presumed that the flats were purchased with the money having spurious origin; that an inquiry in this behalf can be undertaken by this Court even while hearing a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in view of the judgments rendered in the cases of Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmed Khan Bar Vs. Chief Election Commissioner, Islamabad and others (PLD 2010 SC 817), Muhammad Yasin Vs. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Establishment Division Islamabad and others (PLD 2012 SC 132), Workers Party Pakistan through Akhtar Hussain Advocate, General Secretary and 6 others Vs. Federation of Pakistan and two others (PLD 2012 SC 681), Muhammad Azhar Siddiqui and others Vs. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 774), Watan Party and another Vs. Federation of Pakistan and another (PLD 2011 SC 997) and Muhammad Azhar Siddique and others Vs. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2012 SC 660).

6.                     The case of respondent No. 6 as set up in her concise statement, supplementary concise statement and yet another statement is that she, ever since her marriage, has been living on her own with her husband in one of the houses in Shamim Agri Farms, Raiwind owned by her grandmother; that whatever she received, purchased, spent gifted or disposed of has been fully indicated in her tax returns, therefore, nothing adverse could be fished therefrom to make out a case of disqualification of respondents No. 1 and 9; that whatever her father gifted to her in any form was out of his abundant love and affection for her; that she has never been a beneficial owner of any of the flats at Avenfield House Park Lane London; that she independently owns assets, pays taxes thereon and holds a National Tax Number as is fully evident from her tax returns; that respondent No. 1 disclosed in column 12 of his wealth statement for the year 2011, an immovable property purchased in her name but that could not be construed to make her a dependent as no other column for mentioning such property was available in the relevant forms till the issuance of SRO No. 841(1) of 2015 dated Islamabad the 26th August, 2015; that failure of respondent No. 9 to disclose in his tax returns the gift of Rs.31,700000/- to respondent No. 6 would not entail anything adverse to him when he annexed the wealth statement of respondent No. 6 with his nomination papers; that no relief whatever has been sought against respondent No. 6; that when respondent No. 6 is not a dependent of respondent No. 1, the latter’s failure to disclose her assets in his wealth tax returns would not entail any liability against him; that her contribution to the Shamim Agri Farms can well be noticed from the returns for tax years 2013, 2014 and 2015 submitted by Mst. Shamim Akhtar would also go a long way to prove her status as being independent; that she lent and not borrowed from Chaudhry Sugar Mills Ltd; that her assets even on 30th June, 2010 were Rs.73,510431/- and that if the figures mentioned have not been read by the petitioner in their correct perspective, she could not be blamed for that; that she paid the amount to respondent No.1 in the tax year, 2012 for the land he purchased for her in tax year 2011 through a banking channel as is evident from the entries made at page Nos. 251 and 258 of CMA. No. 7530 of 2016; that if at all there has been any misstatement or tax evasion it could be inquired into by the competent forum and not by this Court; that respondent No. 6 in her interview with Sana Bucha denied to have owned anything in and outside the country but this statement cannot be treated as an admission or denial aimed at concealing anything when she has disclosed all of her income and assets in her tax returns; that the documents filed by the petitioner in CMA. No. 7511 of 2016 appearing to be a company resolution sent through as an email with the purported signature of respondent No. 6 is forged on the face of it as the signature thereon does not tally with any of the admitted signatures of respondent No. 6; that the correspondence between Mr. Errol George, Director FIA, British Virgin Islands and Mossack Fonseca & Co. (B.V.I.) Limited also appears to be a fabrication when respondent No. 6 at no stage has been a beneficial owner of the flats; that in all matters relating to public interest litigation this Court has to guard against entertainment of a petition on the basis of an information whose authenticity is open to serious doubt; that since the expression dependent has not been defined by Income Tax Ordinance, Representation of People Act or NAB Ordinance recourse could be had to Black’s Law Dictionary which defines it as ‘one who relies on another for support or is not able to exist or sustain oneself’ and that respondent No. 6 does not fall within the definition of the word ‘dependent’ when she lives on her own and has independent means of sustenance; that if at any rate the question whether she lives on her own and has independent means of existence is disputed it being disputed cannot be inquired into in a proceeding under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan; that there is nothing baffling in the gift of a BMW car by respondent No. 8 to respondent No. 6 costing her Rs.35,000,00/- in the form of Customs Duty and Taxes and bringing her a profit of Rs.19,664,955/- on its having been traded in; that where many documents brought on the record to justify initiation of an inquiry are fake and forged, the petitioner is liable to be proceeded against under Section 469 of the Cr.P.C.; that when respondent No. 6 has disputed the document purported to have been signed by her it is worth nothing unless proved in accordance with law; that even the opinion of the handwriting expert given on comparison of her disputed and admitted signatures is worth nothing unless he affirms his opinion on oath in the Court and faces the test of cross-examination; that where the petitions appear to be malafide and the purpose behind them is to settle personal score or to gain a political mileage they cannot be entertained under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in view of the judgments rendered in the cases of Hafeez-ud-Din. Vs. Abdur Razzak (PLD 2016 SC 79), Janta Dal. Vs. H.S. Chowdary (AIR 1993 SC 829), S.P. Gupta. Vs. President of India (AIR 1982 SC 149), T.N.Godavarman Thirumulpad. Vs. Union of India and others (AIR 2006 SC 1774); that the principles and the provisions of law regulating the jurisdiction of different courts and their hierarchi