Panamagate probe: Govt fails to convince Qatari prince to appear before JIT

Published: June 11, 2017
Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf in a conversation with brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf in a conversation with brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf in a conversation with brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani delivers a speech at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East at the Dead Sea in Jordan, May 15, 2009. PHOTO COURTESY: WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

ISLAMABAD: The government has failed to convince Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani of Qatar to testify before the joint investigation team (JIT) probing into the offshore properties of the Sharif family.

Sources told The Express Tribune that Pakistan’s former attorney general Salman Aslam Butt and former chief of the defunct Ehtesab Bureau Saifur Rehman had been tasked to convince the Qatari royal to visit Pakistan for recording his statement before the JIT.

Subsequently, Butt had visited Qatar last week while Rehman is already stationed in the Arab state. However, both have failed to convince the prince, who had provided two letters to establish the money trail for the Sharif’s London properties during the hearing of the Panamagate case before the Supreme Court.

Panamagate JIT summons Qatari prince for second time

The JIT had sent two letters to the Qatari prince last month. In his reply, the prince had stated that he stood by the statement given in his letters presented before the Supreme Court.

However, a senior PML-N lawyer said the letter would not be enough to prove the money trial until the prince recorded his statement.

“The family has only less than a month to convince al Thani to record his statement,” he said, adding that Butt and Rehman were still making efforts to convince him to appear before the JIT via video link.

Qatari prince shows ‘inability’ to testify, but owns both letters

He said the legal team was also evolving an alternate strategy in case al Thani chose not to appear.

“Khawaja Haris advocate, who is supervising the family affairs before the JIT, will definitely make a plan to deal with the prevailing situation,” he added without going into detail.

A senior lawyer, who was part of the Sharifs’ legal team in the past, said no one could bind a foreigner to record a statement under the law. However, the top court has already asked the JIT to disregard the Qatari prince’s letter if he does not appear in person before the panel.

JIT’s letter delivered to Qatari prince

“The respondents [Sharif family] will have to face consequences if the prince fails to appear before the JIT,” the apex court’s three-judge bench had recently observed.

Meanwhile, sources said the JIT is considering summoning Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the coming weeks.

In compliance with the Supreme Court’s order, the JIT has submitted a separate application to highlight the problems it has been facing during the investigation of the Sharifs’ offshore businesses.

After five appearances, Hussain Nawaz hopes JIT has finished questioning him

The application has been submitted by the JIT’s head Wajid Zia to the Supreme Court’s registrar. Legal experts say the ‘impediments’ the JIT has complained about relate to some departments that are not cooperating with the JIT.

The JIT will submit its reply with regard to Hussain Nawaz’s plea to direct the JIT members to ‘immediately’ stop video recording of the JIT proceedings on Monday.

Hussain had also requested the Supreme Court to constitute an ‘independent commission’ headed by a retired or a sitting judge of the apex court to probe into the circumstances leading to the leak of his photograph on social media. The apex court’s three-judge special bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, will take up Hussain’s plea tomorrow (Monday).

Panamagate: JIT complains of ‘impediments’ to probe

According to a source, the SC administration has taken special security measures for safe custody of the record related to investigation in the Panamagate case. A camera has been installed at the record room of the Registrar Office, which no is authorised to visit, except for the registrar.

The PTI is also said to be preparing a petition along with complete record to prove that the PML-N leadership is involved in campaigning against the apex court and the JIT. The petition will be filed on Monday.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • haji saheb
    Jun 11, 2017 - 10:29AM

    The prince does not have a money trial. He is not hat stupid to be subjected for cross examination by experience members of JIT. He will get caught.Recommend

  • Rahul
    Jun 11, 2017 - 1:16PM

    As if the Qatari Prince doesn’t have enough on his plate that the Pakistani PM wants him to testify to hide his own corruption and lies. If only Mr. Sharif had worked so hard for the betterment of his country.Recommend

  • Shah S
    Jun 11, 2017 - 9:21PM

    Send her to the prince to convince him to come and then when he fails to tell the whole truth and then get caught; Then the game will start; This way please the Saudis; The prince should be alert and not fall for sweet stories by her; Recommend

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