LAHORE – Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former Prime Minister of Qatar and a ‘failed rescuer’ of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif headed to Karachi after holding crucial meetings in Lahore on Wednesday.
The prince was flanked by 12 other companions and as per media reports, he was provided with an official protocol.
After landing at the Allama Iqbal International Airport through a chartered flight, the prince was escorted to the Jati Umrah residence of Sharif family where he called on former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
After the meeting, the Qatari royal met Shahbaz Sharif at his Model Town residence. The two reportedly discussed bilateral ties and LNG projects in Punjab.
The untoward arrival of Qatari royal ignited rumours among the power corridors as the same official submitted two letters to the Supreme Court of Pakistan during the hearing of Panama Papers case stating that the business ties of his father and father of Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shareef led to the purchase of upscale London flats, around which the whole Panama papers controversy revolved.
In his first letter, submitted on Nov 15 by the counsel for Nawaz Sharif, Akram Sheikh, the Qatari prince described the business links of his family with the ruling family of Pakistan could solve the London flats puzzle.
The letter addressing the apex court stated that in 1980, Mian Muhammad Sharif (Nawaz Sharif’s father) invested 12 million Dirhams in the Al Thani company belonging to the Qatari prince’s father.
“In the year 2006, the accounts in relation to the above investment were settled between Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Al Thani family, who then delivered the bearer shares of the companies referred in para 4 above to a representative of Hussain Nawaz Sharif,” the letter read.
In January 2017, another letter attributed to the same prince was furnished before the top court explaining that the investment quoted in first letter was ‘made by way of provision of cash, which was a common practice in the Gulf region’.
Much to the dismay of Sharif family, the letter was termed a ‘myth’ by the Joint Investigation team formulated by the Supreme Court in the aftermath of April 23 order.
Apart from rejecting the letter, the members of the inquiry panel ruled that the ruling family had never invested 12 million Dirhams in the Qatari royal family’s business.
Following investigations, the JIT termed the contents of both Qatari letters ‘hearsay’ and contradictory in nature, stating the “prince did not mention how, when and from whom he learnt about this [investment in Qatar].”
Interestingly, the Qatari prince is also named in the Panama Papers and is also among the individuals named in the latest treasure trove of Paradise Papers regarding the firm QLearn, a subsidiary of Qatar’s Qinvest.