DOHA – Days before the Joint Investigation Team is scheduled to complete its rigorous probe, Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani has clarified that he did not accept the jurisdiction of Pakistani laws and courts.
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In the latest letter written to the six-member Joint Investigation Team tasked to probe offshore assets of Sharif family, the prince categorically rejected JIT’s contention of applying jurisdiction of Pakistani laws and court on him.
The letter which was submitted to the JIT through e-mail and fax on Thursday unambiguously declared that the prince was not willing to enter into any further discourse or argument on the question of jurisdiction.
“Your statement (with reference to my earlier letters) that I have accepted and submitted to the jurisdiction of Pakistani laws and courts is inappropriate and factually incorrect.” it said regarding JIT’s observation that Prince Jassim accepted the jurisdiction of the team.
Al-Thani conveyed the JIT that his two earlier letters which were submitted before the Supreme Court of Pakistan provided certain factual information and do not in any manner depict that he has accepted any such jurisdiction as understood and conceived by the JIT.
“The issue of jurisdiction as stated in your letter is taking the discussion in an irrelevant direction,” Al-Thani told the JIT.
The Qatari prince also affirmed his previous letters and expressed that he was willing to endorse those in person as well.
“I also stand by the statement made by me in the earlier letters, have already confirmed as such to you and have also expressed my willingness to do so (subject to my above-stated position as to jurisdiction) in person in a meeting with your team in Doha.”
The Qatari prince, who came to the rescue of embattled Sharif family in November last year with a letter suggesting that his family had business ties with Sharif family offered the JIT to provide a date for meeting along with names of the JIT members, who will be travelling to Doha.
The communication took place after the Joint Investigation Team sent a letter to him on July 4 reminding him that the jurisdiction once accepted, could not be withdrawn.
“Submission to jurisdiction once conceded or volunteered cannot subsequently be unilaterally withdrawn. Moreover, please also note that should your Excellency now seek to assert this position, it will impact on the admissibility, evidentiary, probative value and standing of the contents of your letters dated 5-11-2016 and 22-12-2016, which otherwise remain unsubstantiated.” JIT’s letter read.
Referring to its earlier communications, the JIT had also said, “The stated purpose and background was to enable the JIT to ‘verify’ and ‘investigate’ the contents of your letters dated 5-11-2016 and 22-12-2016, which have been submitted with your expressed acquiesce by the Respondents No 7 (Hussain Nawaz) and 8 (Hassan Nawaz)….. before the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan and to ‘record your statement’ in relation thereto and not merely for ‘verification’ of both your ‘letters submitted to the JIT’ as mentioned in your letter under reply.”
On the question of jurisdiction as was raised by the Qatari prince in his previous letter written to the JIT, the Team had taken the position, “You have already formally and irrevocably accepted and submitted to the jurisdiction of the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan and concomitantly the jurisdiction of the JIT. As a corollary, you have also accepted extension and application of the relevant laws of Pakistan. This conclusion flows inevitably not only from your aforementioned acts and conduct but is further reinforced by the contents of both of your aforementioned letters of 5-11-2016 and 22-12-2016, which have been formally placed on the record of the Supreme Court.”
It bears mentioning that the supreme court of Pakistan in its April 20 judgment had ordered formulating a Joint Investigation Team which would probe the ruling family and would wind up the investigations in a span of sixty days ending on Monday.
The team, wading through speculations and controversies recorded statements of eight members of the extended first family including the prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shehbaz Sharif, cousin Tariq Shafi and three scions Hassan, Hussain and Maryam Nawaz.
Hussain Nawaz, the elder son of premier appeared before the team for a maximum six times and affirmed his viewpoint that no allegation could be hurled against the ruling family.
Hussain after recording the sixth session headed to Doha, reportedly to meet Qatari prince but he could not do so, although he met his close aides.
Resultantly, Hussain flew off to London and is expected to arrive back in Pakistan on Sunday.
The issue of Qatari prince is crucial to the interrogations as his letter proved to be a lifeline for the ‘House of Sharif’ which vowed to have linkages with Qatar’s family, in a bid to justify offshore assets.
Bevy of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders while voicing their criticism on the JIT express that it should visit Qatar and recorded the statement of the prince in person.