It was Qatari letter that played a key role in leading Justice Asif Saeed Khosa to call for disqualification of prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Justice Khosa believed that the letter from Qatari prince Mr. Al-Thani went against the stated position of the Prime Minister when it was juxtaposed with the speeches made by him.
Prime minister in his first address to the nation had talked about a factory near Makkah but there was no mention of any factory in Dubai or real estate business in Qatar. Ironically he had named “near Makkah” as the place where they had formed their factory and not Jeddah.
“My father setup a steel factory near Makkah during the days of our forced exile [Musharraf era], for which money was borrowed from Saudi banks”, said prime minister in his first speech.
Hence according to prime minister, money was borrowed from Saudi banks to setup a steel factory near Makkah. There was no mention of Dubai factory, or investments in Qatar.
In his second address to the nation, prime minister did not talk about any specifics used for the acquisition of the Jeddah factory, nor had he mentioned any factory in Dubai or business partnership with Qatari royal family.
The official version till this time was that the sale of steel factory in Jeddah was the source of funds that were used to purchase flats in London.
Not only that, the prime minister had categorically stated in his speech that he had informed his countrymen about all the important stages of his family’s journey in business and that it was the entire background of his family’s business.
His address to the national assembly altered his earlier statements. For the first time the prime minister introduced a factory in Dubai.
The prime minister stated that the sale of a factory in Dubai in 1980 generated 33.37 million dirhams or $9 millions dollars that were used to buy steel factory in Jeddah. The Jeddah factory was then sold for about 64 million riyals or $17 million dollars that were used by prime minister’s sons to purchase the flats in London.
In short, the altered version of the prime minister till this time was that funds generated through the sale of Dubai factory were used to setup steel factory in Jeddah and funds generated from the sale of Jeddah factory were used to purchase flats in London.
Again, there was no mention of any investment in Qatar whatsoever.
“Nothing has been concealed and that everything is like an open book”, the prime minister stated in his speech.
Prime minister’s councils presented more or less the same story before the honorable court until one day Muhammad Akram Sheikh, senior council for Prime Minister’s family, presented a mysterious letter from a prince of Qatar. Justice Khosa used the words “dramatic” and “theatrical impact” while referring to the time when Mr. Akram Sheikh took out the letter from his briefcase.
Al-Thani’s letter completely negated what the prime minister had said through his three speeches.
“The bombshell [Qatari Letter] has caused more damage to the case of respondent No. 1 [Nawaz Sharif] and his children than to the case of the petitioners.
“In fact the devastation wreaked by that document upon the case of respondent No. 1 and his children may be incalculable and beyond their contemplation”, Justice Khosa wrote in his judgment.
In his letter the Qatari prince stated that according to his recollection, Mian Muhammad Sharif, late father of the prime minister, had invested with his family an aggregated sum of 12 million dirhams originated from the sale of factory in Dubai.
“With the above mentioned statement [Al-Thani’s letter] received from Qatar it becomes obvious that they are mutually destructive [with Nawaz Sharif’s earlier statements] and cannot coexist simultaneously as the truth”, said Justice Khosa in his judgment.
Prime minister’s speeches spoke of a route of funds which was Jeddah-London or Dubai-Jeddah-London but the statement from Qatar disclosed a totally different route, i.e. Dubai-Doha-London.
The honorable judge also noted that the Qatari prince had no personal knowledge of most of the critical things and for the remaining things he was “evasive at best”.
“It was not just the resources and the routes of resources which were being changed from time to time but it was the “truth” which was being improved, moulded and sacrificed at the altar of expedience”, wrote Justice Khosa.