Qatari prince responds to Panama JIT?s latest letter

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ISLAMABAD: Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani has reportedly sent a detailed reply to the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) last letter to him, sources said Friday.

Sources have confirmed to The News here, that the JIT will receive the letter shortly. A close aide of Sharif family assisted Qatari Prince in drafting the response.

The JIT considers the verification and investigation of Qatari Prince’s letters important for Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.

The latest JIT’s communication dated 4th July and addressed to the Qatari Prince did not mention any relevance of Thani’s probe with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. However, on the question of jurisdiction, the letter candidly conveyed to the Qatari prince, “Submission to jurisdiction once conceded or volunteered cannot subsequently be unilaterally withdrawn.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.”

Referring to its earlier communication, the JIT 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.”

The JIT conveyed to the Qatari prince that the JIT intends to go beyond mere verification of Thani’s letters. It said, “The scope and remit of the investigation and recording of your statement as intended and sought by the JIT is therefore materially broader and different than that which has been offered in your latest letter. This is also self evident from the contents of our letter dated 22-6-2017.”

On the question of jurisdiction as was raised by the Qatari prince in his letter written to the JIT, the Team responded that the Al-Thani has accepted the jurisdiction of Supreme Court of Pakistan as well as that of the JIT by voluntarily signing and providing letters dated 5-11-2016 and 22-12-2016 for submission before the SC in support of the replies and stance adopted by Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.

“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,” the JIT wrote to the Qatari Prince, adding, “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 you aforementioned letters of 5-11-2016 and 22-12-2016, which have been formally placed on the record of the Supreme Court.”

Upset with the delay of probing the Qatari prince, the JIT wrote, “The delay in receipt of your replies has led to unnecessary loss of the very limited time granted to the JIT by the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan to complete its investigation and report thereon. We, therefore, again request you to kindly respond via facsimile transmission or email which may be followed up by couriering signed originals.”

The Qatari Prince is told, “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.”

The JIT told the Qatari Prince that it is also unable to provide the confirmation regarding his appearance before any court of law or tribunal for any purpose because “a) the JIT, which has been constituted for a specific investigative purpose is not legally competent nor has the jurisdiction to provide such an all encompassing confirmation, and (b) without prejudice to the foregoing, for your guidance and information, kindly take note that, should the SC pass any order(s) for the filing of the criminal reference against any person(s) connected with alleged crime under NAB law, the possibility of your Excellency being required to appear before the concerned accountability court undertaking the trial of the alleged offences cannot be ruled out.”

However, the JIT added, as clarified above this could be a matter for the court of competent jurisdiction and the prosecution and defence in any such trial. The JIT cannot therefore furnish any definitive confirmation in this regard, nor it would be appropriate or within its remit to do so.

With reference to the Prince Al-Thani’s letter 22-6-2017 to meet the JIT in Doha in order to verify in person the contents of both of his letters submitted to the JIT, the JIT said, “The JIT originally requested you to make it contingent to record your statement before it through letter dated 13-5-2017. This was followed up by further requests through its letters of 24-5-2017 and 22-6-2017. 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 and 8 before the SC. In these circumstances, we respectfully again urge you to kindly clarify your position vis a vis the matters explained above by return fax or by return email, failing which in view of the impending terminal date for submission of its final report to the SC, the JIT shall proceed further without any further recourse to your Excellency and shall report accordingly to the SC.”

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