ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court yesterday said that some pages of PM’s ‘open book’ like life are apparently missing and he would have to provide some proof to clear his position in Panama leaks case.

Appearing before the five-member bench, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer argued that the PM was not answerable for his children’s business dealings.

Makhdoom Ali Khan asked why the prime minister has to explain about the properties and the assets of his children when they are not dependent on him. He contended that it was not the stance of the petitioners that Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz are dependent on their father.

The bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa was hearing the petitions of PTI, JI, AML and Tariq Asad on Panama leaks.

“The prime minister is not and was never shareholder, director, and beneficial owner of any company,” Makhdoom stated in the beginning of his Thursday’s arguments.

He said his client was also not the shareholder, director, or guarantor of loans and recipient of Dubai or Jeddah factories then how he could have their documents.

The lawyer contended that in his speeches and statements to the parliament the PM gave broad overview of the business and transfer of money from Dubai to London. More importantly, he said, “None of his speeches are actionable.”

The court noted that there was no mention of Qatari letter in his speeches and there were apparent discrepancies in his statements.

Also, Justice Khosa remarked that the prime minister in his speeches did say that they have the documents and those would be provided to the court when required. He noted that the PM in speeches also stated that the right would be separated from the wrong (doodh ka doodh aur pani ka pani ho jaye ga).

The judge, referring to the plaintiffs’ allegations that Nawaz Sharif provided incorrect statements, told the counsel, “If you disagree, then you will have to prove it.”

Referring to PM’s statement that his life was like an open book, the judge observed that some pages of the book are missing. He told the lawyer that they would have to provide the proof.

The court noted they would see whether the PM or his son is lying, adding if the son is not telling the truth then they would see. The counsel said both were not lying.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said one thing missing in a speech was added in another speech. He questioned whether the PM has suppressed the fact or whether it was innocent submission or deliberate suppression. “We can’t ignore this aspect,” he said.

“We do not believe that the speech was wrong but if something was hidden on purpose, we will consider that to be a half truth,” Justice Khosa said.

He asked whether half truth should be considered a lie or misstatement. He also asked whether omission is suppression and whether inadvertent lie is a lie.

“If there is a small mistake in the speech, it can be overlooked. But if mistakes were made on purpose, there will be serious consequences,” Justice Ejaz Afzal warned.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the address of PM was a written speech, it was not extempore, so it must have been deliberated upon before the delivering it in the Parliament.

Justice Khosa said after that speech the PM later announced setting up of a commission, adding it means that he was aware of the facts.

Makhdoom said that Muhammad Mian Sharif had set up the factory in Jeddah and was the in-charge of the Sharif family business. He contended that there was contradiction between the pleadings and stance taken by PTI chief Imran Khan before the bench. He said the PM in his speeches stated the sale proceeds of Dubai and Jeddah factories were utilised to purchase the London flats.

PTI does not dispute the area of the factory, sale of it and its sale proceeds and year in which it was sold. However, the opposition party claims that the Dubai factory was sold in 1980 for $9 million and this amount was kept outside Pakistan for 10 years and was not disclosed to the people of Pakistan. Also, PTI contends that after the payment of liabilities to the BCCI, no money was left with the Sharif family to invest either in Jeddah or Qatar or London.

Justice Khosa said the petitioners first want declaration against PM from the apex court and then disqualification of the PM.

Justice Ejaz Afzal asked whether the court could pass judgment on the speeches made in Parliament. He said whether Article 66 of constitution would not come in their way.

Makhdoom argued that the PM could not be disqualified on the basis of his address to the nation and speeches in the National Assembly. “He (PM) was not taking an oath or answering a specific question,” the counsel said. “The prime minister’s speech was not a statement in a court.”

Makhdoom Khan said there were two ways to remove the prime minister: the first is through the submission of a no-confidence motion. The second requires that Members of the National Assembly prove that the PM is dishonest.

“The Supreme Court, however, cannot disqualify him based on the statements and claims of others,” he held.

The counsel also explained that in former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani’s case, first the NRO case was decided then he was given opportunity for its implementation. When he failed then contempt notice was issued and the finding of contempt resulted in Gilani’s disqualification.

Makhdoom said this court is not competent to verify the fact therefore it should constitute a commission to go to Jeddah and Dubai to verify the documents. He said otherwise onus is on the petitioners to prove the case.

The court noticed that all the material placed before the court could not be considered evidence as they have to see the documents in accordance with Qanoon-e-Shahadat. Justice Ejaz said that they are treading on a tight rope therefore taking every step very cautiously.

“We would keep in mind law of criminal, civil, and Evidence and the (relevant) constitutional provisions to decide the case,” he said.

Makhdoom said in a case where the evidence is not produced by both the parties the burden of proof lies on accuser.

The PM’s counsel informed the court that PTI leaders and the chief of Pakistan Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rashid had filed reference before the National Assembly speaker against the PM for his disqualification. However, the speaker had rejected their reference.

He said that some of PTI members had approached the high courts and Election Commission of Pakistan for the disqualification of his client. The cases in Islamabad High Court and ECP are pending as they are waiting for the decision of the apex court.

Justice Ejaz questioned whether the proceeding of same nature against the same person could go parallel in different courts.

The hearing was adjourned until Friday.