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Former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif denied his association with letters of Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad Bin Jaber Al-Thani; the infamous “Qatari letter” that was once presented by Sharif family in the Supreme Court as evidence during the proceeding of the Panama Case.
Nawaz Sharif while recording his statement in the Al-Azizia reference on Thursday told an accountability court that he never had any transaction with Qatari Prince. “I have no relation with the Qatari prince’s letters,” he said.
A JIT team was willing to travel to Doha, and interview him in Pakistani embassy but he insisted that he won’t come to Pakistani embassy but would prefer to be interviewed at his palace.
It is pertinent to mention that during the hearing of Panama Gate case, on November 14, 2016, Sharif’s lawyer had produced a letter written by the former prime minister of Qatar, Prince Al Thani. The letter read that father of Nawaz Sharif, Mian Sharif and that of Prince Al-Thani had business relations.
A sum of around Dirhams 12 million, proceeds of real estate business in Dubai, was contributed to Mian Sharif for the purchase of four flats: 16, 16A, 17 and 17A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, registered under the ownership of two offshore companies, while their bearer share certificates were kept in Qatar. Mian Sharif wished that the beneficiary of his investment and returns in the real estate business should be his grandson Hussain Nawaz Sharif.
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A second letter written by Al Thani was produced on 26 January 2017, saying that the “investment was made by way of provision of cash which was common practice in the Gulf region at the time of the investment. It was also, given the longstanding relationship between my father and Mr. Sharif, a customary way for them to do business between themselves.
The letter Sharif family and even their lawyer asserted were the evidence of money-trail for the purchase of the flats in London.
Qatari prince sent the letters but was not willing to come to Supreme Court or to appear before JIT in Judicial Academy, Islamabad. A JIT team was willing to travel to Doha, and interview him in Pakistani embassy but he insisted that he won’t come to Pakistani embassy but would prefer to be interviewed at his palace. It was thus obvious that Prince knew the legal implications and did not want to be the part of legal complications.
Technicalities may save Nawaz Sharif in courts, as legally his defense is changing in every court as per the requirement of the case but on political grounds, seems like PMLN has already lost the battle.
Now during recording his testimony in Accountability Court in Al-Azizia Steel Mills Reference, Sharif distanced himself from the letters, claiming that his name did not “figure in any capacity whatsoever in the two letters written by Prince Hamad bin Jassim”.
He said that the ten volumes of JIT was merely an investigation report and could not be presented as evidence in trial court. He further said the interviews of his son Hassan Nawaz and his own speech in National Assembly too, could not be presented as evidence in the case either.
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Nawaz Sharif said that it was not correct to say that after exile, Sharif family ran short of assets and had no money to start any business. “The reality is that our father made arrangements for money and fulfilled basic needs and requirements of family members, “said Nawaz Sharif. He provided 90 replies to 100 queries in NAB Accountability Court as raised by the court in Al-Azizia Reference.
Responding to the queries of the court, Nawaz stated that Qatari letters were produced before the apex court through simultaneous petitions, adding that appropriate reply regarding those Qatari letters could only be provided by one who produced those letters before Supreme Court.
It is obvious that Nawaz Sharif is working on technicalities now and factual and political value of the case is not his strength anymore. PMLN leadership during the hearing of Panama Gate appeared on various television channels, defending their supremo, using the Qatari letters. They kept on proclaiming the authenticity of the letters; the letters which Nawaz Sharif denies his connection with. That means all the arguments presented by team PMLN and their lawyers in front of SC bench and JIT earlier, have no legal bearing.
Read more: Nawaz Sharif denies ownership of London properties
Technicalities may save Nawaz Sharif in courts, as legally his defense is changing in every court as per the requirement of the case but on political grounds, seems like PMLN has already lost the battle. Contradicting their own statements now leave them with no arguments.