ISLAMABAD - Legal experts say that the legitimacy and legality of the two letters of Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim will remain ‘valid’ even though he has refused to accept the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

In a statement on Saturday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that Qatari prince’s decision not to accept the jurisdiction of Pakistani courts has finished the case of the Sharif family in the Supreme Court.

The Qatari prince in a letter sent has informed the Joint Investigation Team probing the Panama Papers cases about his ‘decision’.

At least two legal experts say that the legal worth of the two letters would remain intact till their verification and cross-examination from the Qatari prince by the JIT probing the offshore wealth and money-laundering charges against the ruling family.

The Qatari prince had sent these letters to the Supreme Court in defence of the Sharif family regarding their offshore businesses.

PTI Secretary Information Shafqat Mahmood in a statement said that the two letters had no legal value after the decision of the prince not to accept the jurisdiction of Pakistani courts. 

“What importance these two letters would have when the person that sent them had refused to accept the jurisdiction of the Pakistani courts?” he questioned.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Akhtar Hussain and former vice chairman Pakistan Bar Council and Secretary General Awami Workers Party, while talking to The Nation said that the decision of the prince not to accept the jurisdiction of Pakistani courts would not make the two letters redundant. “However, it is the duty of the JIT to verify their truthfulness and record the statement of the prince,” he said.

“These letters would be accepted as evidence only if JIT confirms their genuineness after cross examination of the prince,” he said. Once the Supreme Court formed the JIT, it was its responsibility to collect evidence from anywhere to ascertain the facts involving the case. He also said that the JIT should cross-examine the Qatari prince whenever the team finds itself free. “But the cross-examination of the prince has become very important in this case,” he said.

Kamran Murtaza, former president Supreme Court Bar Association, said that the non-acceptance of jurisdiction did not affect the legality of the letters till the JIT confirms their genuineness. “The JIT would have to record the statement of the Qatari prince to verify the truthfulness of the letters and this has become very important in this case,” he said. “An investigation team can force a Pakistani to record the statement wherever it wants but it cannot a foreigner,” he said.

The PTI secretary information in his statement said that efforts were being made to make the JIT controversial by asking it to record the statement of the Qatari prince at his palace.

“There is no legal necessity to record the statement of the prince at his residence. The decision of the Sharif family is beyond comprehension not to present the Qatari prince before the JIT because he is the witness to the Sharif family. Witnesses all over the world are presented before courts by the defence,” he said.

Shafqat Mahmood questioned why the Sharif family was scared to present the Qatari prince before the Pakistani courts. “The prince is neither ready to come to Pakistan nor to the Pakistani embassy in Doha for cross-examination,” he said.

Meanwhile, PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry in a statement said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s direct attack on the JIT in his speech exposed the vicious propaganda plan of the PML-N against institutions. “The PTI from the very first day contented that the baseless accusations against the Pakistan Army, the Supreme Court, and the JIT were hurled by the PML-N at the behest and wishes of the prime minister himself,” he alleged.

The PTI maintained that the “PM would be mistaken to imagine that he would be allowed to contest next general elections, as this time, instead of hatching rigging plan, he will only be allowed to rest in his last resort — Adiyala Jail.” It further claimed that there would be no pace for Nawaz Sharif or his corruption after July 10.

The spokesperson said that the inauguration of new power projects was indeed good but the failures of Nandipur, Gaddani, and Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park projects were still alive in the memory of the nation.

The PTI said that “it will not let the PML-N succeed in delaying the accountability through deceptive tactics or useless inaugurations and propaganda against the national institutes.”