PML-N denies report: Shahbaz says will file lawsuit against Daily Mail

PML-N denies report: Shahbaz says will file lawsuit against Daily Mail

LAHORE: Opposition leader in National Assembly and president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Shahbaz Sharif, said Sunday he had "decided to file a lawsuit against Daily Mail" after the tabloid published an investigative report allegedly revealing that he and his family were involved in money-laundering in Britain.

"The fabricated and misleading story was published at the behest of Imran Khan and Shahzad Akbar. We will also launch legal proceedings against them," he wrote. The Daily Mail had reported that the UK's Department for International Development (DIFD) had given Sharif and his government taxpayers' cash and that he and his family were embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it to Britain.

Meanwhile, the PML-N denied claims that Shahbaz Sharif embezzled millions given to Pakistan by the United Kingdom in aid. Party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb slammed Daily Mail report.

In a series of Tweets posted via the PML-N official Twitter account, she said the British government conducted an independent audit of the funds and the Punjab government supported it. The government of Punjab worked with honesty and diligence and used the funds for the people, she added.

Linking the report to the video of judge Arshad Malik, Ms Aurangzeb called it propaganda aimed at hiding the truth and treatment of former PM Nawaz Sharif. She said it was an attempt at discrediting the video revealed by the PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz.

The tweets also accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of being behind the report. At a press conference later in the day, she said the story was planted in a tabloid paper. She said the paper was unreliable. She said DFID rebutted the report and stated that it only released funds after the completion of the task. Therefore, it only gave money when it saw work being done. She called the paper a liar.

She said the paper quoted accountability adviser Shahzad Akbar as saying Shahbaz stole money in 2005. Aurangzeb said Shahbaz wasn’t even in Pakistan at the time. It was Musharraf’s era, she said. When he came to power in 2008, he came was elected as chief minister of Punjab, she reminded him.

“Bring us these records,” she demanded. “Show the country proof of your claims,” she added. Marriyum said the PTI planted propaganda story and accused Shahbaz Sharif of embezzling earthquake relief funds from 2005 to 2012 whereas from 2005 to 2007 he (Shahbaz) was in exile, while from 2008 to 2012 he was Punjab CM and had no authority over any of these funds. The Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) was a federal subject back then, she pointed out.

She asked why Daily Mail wasn’t reporting on the PTI’s 18 fake account . Marriyum said: “In the initial five portions of the article, progress of Shahbaz and his projects have been thoroughly hailed. However, the portion where suspicious sources are mentioned, all conspiracy ideas and accusations are made part of the story.”

She said Punjab, under chief ministership of Shahbaz Sharif, progressed in an extraordinary manner and witnessed historic development. She said the Asian Development Bank’s official report regarding massive corruption in Peshawar metro was being ignored by all accountability institutions only because it implicated the PTI and its leader Imran Khan.

Marriyum said the fake story was got published in a British newspaper to divert the public attention from the judge’s video, presented by the PML-N to prove the innocence of Nawaz Sharif.

She said the business community had totally rejected the economic policies and budget of the incumbent government and the successful strike observed by the trader community on Saturday was its proof. She said the fake story against Shahbaz Sharif and his family was also aimed at diverting the public attention from the protest and strike of the business and trade communities. However, she added, Imran Khan and his gang would badly fail to discredit the PML-N, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif of their services they rendered for welfare of the people of Pakistan.