The order issued on Thursday by Pakistan’s Supreme Court for further investigations into corruption allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif began with an epigraph from Mario Puzo’s acclaimed novel The Godfather.
The 1969 book, which was turned by director Francis Ford Coppola into an equally acclaimed film, begins with the epigraph: Behind every great fortune there is a crime – Balzac.
The 549-page order issued by the five-judge bench began by noting that Puzo’s novel “recounted the violent tale of a Mafia family” and that the brief quotation at its beginning was “fascinating”.
“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 apparent 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),” the ruling said.
The judgement said it was “ironical and a sheer coincidence” that the allegations levelled by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan against Sharif were reflected by the quotation attributed to Balzac, a 19th century French novelist and playwright.
Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, filed the case against Sharif last year after papers leaked from the Panama-based law firm of Mossack Fonseca showed the prime minister’s three children purportedly owned offshore assets.
The judgement noted that Imran Khan had accused Sharif and his family of amassing “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”.
Sharif gained a reprieve as the court ordered the formation of a joint investigation team to probe the corruption allegations within two months. It also said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to order his removal from office.