ISLAMABAD - Joint investigation team head on Panama Papers case, Wajid Zia, Thursday informed the accountability court that there were contradictions in the letters of the Qatari prince while associated documents were not filed to prove their contents in Avenfield properties corruption reference. He, however, confirmed the prince endorsed the contents of his letters sent to the Supreme Court.

In Wednesday’s hearing at the accountability court regarding ownership of Avenfield properties, Zia said JIT had offered Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jassim to record his statement before JIT in Doha (Qatar). Since members of JIT did not agree to take statement of Jassim in Qatar, he was offered to record his statement at Pakistan Embassy in Doha, Qatar.

The counsel for Nawaz Sharif cross-examined the JIT head who informed the court that the Qatari prince dispatched three letters to JIT. The first letter was received on May 25, 2017, the second on June 11 and the third on June 26, 2017. In his letters, Hamad bin Jassim confirmed the contents of both the letters presented in the apex court. In his first letter, Jassim stated he would not appear before JIT as he has already testified that the contents of the letters presented on his behalf in the Supreme Court of Pakistan are correct and doesn’t think it necessary to appear before JIT for confirmation of his letters’ contents. In his second letter, the Qatari prince offered the JIT members to record his statement by visiting Qatar. After differences among the JIT members on visiting Qatar to record the statement of Jassam, the letters were dispatched to Panama implementation bench of the Supreme Court to seek guidance, but honourable judges of the bench didn’t give any categorical reply to JIT. However, the registrar office of the apex court, through a phone call, replied the JIT can autonomously hold investigations.

On a query raised by Khawaja Harris, Zia said the JIT had decided not to dispatch any questionnaire to anyone in connection with recording his statement. In this regard, the JIT remained steadfast in recording statement of Jassim and no questionnaire was forwarded to him. In his third letter to the JIT, the prince stated, being a Qatari national, he is not bound to follow Pakistani laws.

Khawaja Harris asked Wajid Zia if there is any legal point on recording statement of an eyewitness either at his home, palace or office. Wajid Zia said this is a legal issue and he can't answer it.

Wajid Zia stated that he had held investigations on many high-profile cases like Benazir Bhutto assassination case and impunity case against Pervez Musharraf, adding no questionnaire was forwarded during these high-profile cases to suspects ahead of recording their statements. It was not appropriate for the Qatari prince to refuse to record his statement due to strict terms and conditions of the JIT, Wajid Zia said. He affirmed the picture of Hussain Nawaz was leaked from the JIT office and the social media made it viral. On the instructions of the Panama implementation bench of the Supreme Court, the attorney general office was informed about the identity of the personnel who leaked the picture on the social media, he added.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif, talking to media persons, stated he never interfered in the matters of any state institution, adding all the state institutions should discahrge their constitutional responsibilities within their limits.

Nawaz Sharif stated all the institutions should honour one another. He said, “I remained silent when Justice Azmat Saeed remarked Nawaz Sharif should not forget that there is plenty of space available in Adiala Jail.

Responding to a query, regarding use of word “Faryadi” by the chief Justice of Pakistan for the prime minister, he said such remarks should not have been passed about a PM. He asserted he talked about honour of the constitution and power of vote.

Sharif further stated no premier in the country since its inception was allowed to complete his constitutional tenure. He questioned why even a single prime minister in Pakistan could not complete his constitutional tenure.

He stated Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi can seek explanation from the chief justice for passing such remarks about a premier.

Nawaz Sharif also stated the court should check the boxes being presented by JIT head Wajid Zia in connection with evidences, adding Wednesday’s statement of Wajid Zia in the court was tantamount to giving a clean chit to him.