Necklace issue: Gilani rejects ex-Nadra chief’s claim

Source: Published in Politics on Friday, June 26, 2015

LAHORE: Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday contradicted the claim of the former chairman of Nadra in a reply to the Federal Investigation Agency’s notice in the controversy of the ‘missing’ necklace donated by the Turkish First Lady.

In a written response to the FIA questionnaire, Gilani said: “The stance taken by the former Nadra chairman is not based on facts. Rather it has been made a cover story. The facts are different. The spouse of then Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan (now president) had never participated in the eight-couple (wedding) ceremony in Sindh in 2010. She never gave the said necklace on this occasion to any one, nor I directed its auction. I never ordered the Nadra chairman (to make) payment for the necklace. In fact the Nadra chairman voluntarily paid the amount to the newly-married couples. Since payment was made by him, as per his statement, it was his duty to get the necklace from the staff of the Prime Minister House. But, unfortunately, he did not make an attempt to get the same from the staff of the PM House. And since it was not demanded back the staff of the PM House handed over the same (necklace) to my personal staff.” Mr Gilani further said: “It is worth mentioning here that my personal staff never informed me that the necklace in question is still with us. However, when the matter came up in the media my personal staff told me that the necklace was in their custody. Upon which I directed them to deposit it in the Toshakhana (treasure-house) on Friday (today) without delay.”

Former Nadra chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem had reportedly claimed he had purchased the necklace so that it could be returned to the Turkish First Lady.

On the instructions of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, the FIA last Saturday sent a questionnaire to Mr Gilani, inquiring about the necklace.

Mr Gilani is not happy with the FIA inquiry. He says the controversy should have ended when he had told the government that the piece of jewellery was with him.

He accuses the PML-N government, especially the interior minister, of his “character assassination” and “media trial” over the matter.

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