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Al-Azizia reference: Nawaz disassociates himself from Qatari prince’s letters

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif disassociated himself from the letters of Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani’s, which the Sharif family had submitted as an evidence during the proceedings of Panama case last year.

While recording his statement before the accountability court for a second consecutive day on Thursday in the Al-Azizia corruption reference hearing, Nawaz said, “I have no relation with the Qatari prince’s letters.”

During the hearing today, the former PM appeared to give answers to the court’s questionnaire and told the court that he was sent into exile with his family in the year 2000, to which Judge Arshad Malik asked, “Did you have an amount while you were leaving the country?”

Nawaz responded that his father had made arrangements for his children and fulfilled all needs of the family. Our family-owned Ittefaq Foundry, which was nationalized when we were again sent into exile in the year 1972, he elaborated.

Responding to a question, the erstwhile PM asserted, “I was not a part of any transaction in any capacity. My name has not been mentioned in any document.”

The JIT’s Volume X is merely an investigative report and is not acceptable as an evidence, the supreme leader of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) said, while emphasizing, “I am not a witness to any document submitted by the JIT other than my tax records.”

Mr. Sharif had submitted answers of 44 questions out of total 50 in the reference yesterday (Wednesday). He said remaining questions were complicated in nature hence he needed further examination before filing an answer.

In hearing of the case on Nov 14, Sharif had said that the Al-Azizia Mills was established by his father and he never owned it. “I never said that I am an owner of either Al-Azizia Mills or Gulf steel mills,” he told the court.

He added that he had no connection with any of the contracts involving the aforementioned mills.

According to the charge sheet against the former premier in the Al-Azizia reference, Mr Sharif has been accused of owning assets which are disproportionate to his known sources of income. It says transactions have been carried out between Mr Sharif’s family members and their companies without any plausible explanation and consideration.

The National Accountability Bureau had filed three references on Sept 8, 2017 against Mr Sharif and his family, and another reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.

On July 28 last year, the Supreme Court had disqualified Mr Sharif from holding the office of prime minister and also directed NAB to file four references against the Sharif family and Mr Dar in a trial court within six weeks.

 

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