ISLAMABAD: Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on Wednesday said that nowhere in the Supreme Court judgement in the Panama Papers case that led to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification do the judges call anyone ‘The Godfather’.
“Have you read the Panamagate judgement?” Justice Khosa asked the deputy attorney general during the hearing of two contempt of court notices against private TV channel Geo News.
“Nowhere in the judgement have we mentioned The Godfather,” he said while adding that the reference to the Sicilian Mafia was made because of Nihal Hashmi’s open threats to the judiciary.
Justice Khosa’s remarks come in the wake of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz’s repeated attacks against the superior court judges for allegedly using terms like ‘Sicilian Mafia and The Godfather’ to describe them — a mantra that has been reiterated by other PML-N members as well.
“Things that the SC has not said should not be associated to it,” the senior judge said while adding that factually incorrect reporting is unfair.
It should be noted that the first judgement in the case was issued last year on April 21 and was split 3:2 among the five-judge bench, with two dissenting notes from Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed. The order of the judgement, based on majority, was that a “thorough investigation was required”.
Justice Khosa’s dissenting note had opened with a reference to the book The Godfather by Mario Puzo.
“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,” wrote Justice Khosa. “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 [French novelist and playwright]… as follows:
(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…”
Justice Khosa later said in the judgement: “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.”
The final verdict in the case, which was delivered on July 28, 2017, however, made no mention to the book or the term ‘Godfather’.