Panama JIT terms Qatari prince's letter 'myth'

10:25 AM | 11 Jul, 2017
Panama JIT terms Qatari prince's letter 'myth'
ISLAMABAD - The six-member JIT has termed in its sensational report, the Sharif family’s prime defence – the letters from Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber alThani – as ‘totally a myth rather than a reality’.

Apart from rejecting the letter, the members of inquiry panel ruled that the ruling family had never invested 12 million dirhams in the Qatari royal family’s business.

The JIT has concluded that “after having investigated the case [of letters] in detail, examination of witnesses [Sharif family members] and receipt of irrefutable evidence from foreign jurisdiction, recording of the statement of Hamad alThani has become inconsequential.”

The Supreme Court in its 13 questions had asked the JIT to interrogate whether the Qatari letter submitted by Sharif family in November last year was a myth or reality.

The reply of the JIT with regard to the question covers over 24 pages of the 256-page report and says, “On the strength of the overwhelming documentary evidence it is concluded that the appearance of letters of Qatari prince are totally a myth.”

 “It has been proved through the acquired authentic documentary evidence and inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses that Tariq Shafi [PM’s cousin] never handed over AED 12 million to the father of Hamad alThani. Hence, no question of any investment in Qatari business and proceeds thereto,” the JIT report concludes.

Following investigations, the JIT termed the contents of both Qatari letters ‘hearsay’ and contradictory in claims, stating the “prince did not mention how, when and from whom he learnt about this [investment in Qatar].”

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The report also notes in details the discrepancies between the first Qatari letter and affidavit of PM's cousin Tariq Shafi and the repeated changes in the stance of Hussain Nawaz during his multiple appearances before the team.

“The two key witnesses, Hussain and Hassan, gave conflicting statements with regards to their knowledge about the details of the Qatari letters, which essentially was used to plug the gaps identified in the money trail.”

“Source of money for investing with the Qatari family does not have any document, genuine or false, to support it. All subsequent ventures like the setting up of the various businesses and ownership of Avenfield Apartments of the Sharif family also do not have any basis left.” it said.

Qatari Prince's Statement

The JIT report states that efforts were made to record the statement of the Qatari prince to ascertain the veracity of the contents of the letters submitted by him.

“Mr Thani despite the best efforts of the JIT chose to delay his responses or sideline the issue of recording of statement, by first refusing to give a statement, then accepting and asking for a date, then raising the legal issues of jurisdiction of Pakistani courts and finally sending his response at the last moment without acceding to the jurisdiction of Pakistan law and courts,” the JIT reports.

It terms the whole exercise “as a tactical move to keep the defense of the respondents alive” and claims that alThani was issued a total of four summonses, respectively on May 13, May 24, June 22, and July 4.

Responding to the first summons, the Qatari prince only verified the contents of the letters in writing and claimed following “reconfirmation of letters content there is no requirement for my (Prince) attendance in the proceedings of the JIT”.

Responding the second summons the Prince wrote to the JIT, “Unfortunately it is not possible for me to visit Pakistan due to unavoidable circumstances ….. I suggest that the members of the JIT may visit me in Doha at a mutually agreeable date.”

Report claims that due to the importance of that evidence it was decided that JIT members may travel to Qatar to record the statement and the Qatari prince was offered to give his statement on June 28 or June 29 in the Pakistan High Commission in Doha, Qatar.

Responding that offer [or the third summons], the Qatari prince instead of confirming the dates for the interview stated: “I wish to obtain an acknowledgment from you (JIT) that I am not subject to the jurisdiction and the laws of Pakistan and that you confirm that I am not subject to any investigation or required to appear before any court of law or tribunal for any purpose whatsoever.”

However, he expressed his willingness to meet the JIT members in Doha. To that JIT sent him a detailed response answering his apprehensions and explaining legal issues.

Responding the fourth and final summons, the Qatari prince wrote, “I reiterate that I don’t recognise, and am not subject to the jurisdiction of Pakistani laws and Pakistani courts in any manner whatsoever. Your (JIT) statement that I have accepted and submitted to the jurisdiction of Pakistani laws and courts is inappropriate and factually incorrect.”

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With that statement, he once again invited the JIT to visit Doha and meet him.

The JIT concluded that Qatari prince has adopted an evasive and evidently disingenuous stance with respect to his willingness to cooperate. His last letter was received literally, less than 72 hours before the final report of the JIT.

“Besides employing dilatory tactics, Mr Thani has also categorically refused to recognise to be subject to the jurisdiction of Pakistani laws and Pakistani court in any manner whatsoever.

“Mr Thani has never indicated that he has or will be providing any documentation to substantiate the contents of the letters rather he simply offered to verify in person that he did sign the said letters and that he stands by their content but without any further elaboration at all.”

Finally, the JIT stated that due to the availability of plethora of evidence, recording of the statement of Hamad alThani has become inconsequential.

It bears mentioning that the ruling family had submitted two letters of Qatari prince suggesting that late Mian Sharif, father of Nawaz Sharif had business ties with Qatar's royal family and so the business deal led to purchase of London flats.