Nawaz Sharif distances self from Qatari prince’s letters


— Former PM says his name is not mentioned in any document related to Al-Azizia reference 

–Claims JIT report’s Volume X cannot be used as evidence against him


ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, while recording his statement in the Al-Azizia reference on Thursday, disassociated himself from Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani’s letters which the Sharif family had presented as evidence in the Supreme Court (SC) during proceedings of the Panama Papers case.

The former premier, while recording his statement for a second consecutive day before an accountability court, said, “I have no relation with the Qatari prince’s letters”.

The Sharif family had submitted letters from the Qatari royal family before the apex court last year.

Accountability Judge Arshad Malik resumed hearing the Al-Azizia corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court’s orders.

Nawaz has answered most of the 151 questions posed to him by the court in the corruption reference against him.

Responding to a question, Nawaz remarked, “I was not a part of any transaction in any capacity. My name has not been mentioned in any document.”

The former premier also raised reservations over the statements of Wajid Zia, prosecution’s star witness and Panamagate JIT head.

While answering the questions, Nawaz also constantly consulted his counsel, Khawaja Haris.

In response to another question, the former premier said, “The records of our businesses were seized after martial law was imposed in 1999. We filed complaints in this regard but no action was taken.”

“Judge Sb, this not only happened with us in 1999 but has always happened. It is a painful story of our family,” he added.

The former premier continued, “In 1972, Pakistan’s biggest steel mill, Ittefaq Foundry was nationalised. No one even asked whether we had money to survive.”

“I was not even a politician back in 1972 and entered politics in the 1980s,” Nawaz said.

The former premier further said, “The JIT’s Volume X is a mere investigative report and not acceptable evidence. I am not a witness to any document submitted by the JIT other than my tax records.”

“Mutual legal assistance (MLA) letters were presented as evidence against me. The MLA from Saudi Arabia did not respond while the response from the one in United Arab Emirates (UAE) was factually incorrect.”, Nawaz added.

After its deadline to conclude the trials against the Sharifs had ended on October 7, the apex court had granted final extension to the court last month.

The accountability court has until November 17 to finish the remaining two corruption references against the Sharif family.