Qatari prince ‘ready to appear before SC’

ISLAMABAD: The proceedings of the Panama Papers case may take a long time as Hamad Bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who is among the owners of REDCO International in Qatar, is ready to come to Pakistan to appear before the court or a commission to be cross-examined as foreign documents presented by the ruling PML-N may need verification.

The Supreme Court is hearing the Panama Papers case in which a letter of Prince Hamad Al Thani was presented on Tuesday. Sources told The News that Prince Hamad Al Thani, the former Prime Minister of Qatar, who was also named in the Panama Papers, has no problem in coming to Pakistan and appearing before any court or commission to be cross examined.

Al Thani, who became the foreign minister of Qatar at the age of 33 in 1990s and became its prime minister, was among the world’s top 140 politicians named by the Panama Papers and was also named by the TIME magazine as 100 most influential persons in the world in 2012 because of his huge wealth. He is among the top 29 billionaires named by FORBES who were also found in the Panama Papers.

While the documents submitted by the Sharifs are under scrutiny, senior lawyers close to the ruling party believe that as most of the evidence presented by the Sharif family lawyers before the apex court are documents of different departments of foreign governments, thus, proper official verification is needed from the countries concerned. Legal experts explain that in a situation when the petitioner party hasn’t submitted any strong evidence, the documents presented by the Sharifs cannot be trusted without proper verification and, on the other hand, they can’t be punished just because the documents are not properly verified by professionals or investigators concerned. They say that verification from other governments always takes a long time, so it is clear that the Panama Papers case will linger on now. Experts also doubt that even if Prince Hamad Al Thani gives his consent to come to Pakistan, he can also opt to come at a time of his own choice, which can further delay things.

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