Shehbaz: Fabricated story was taken at behest of Pak PM

Updated: Jul 16, 2019, 11:34 IST | Agencies

"For years he was feted as a Third World poster boy by Britain's Department for International Development, which poured more than 500 million pounds of UK taxpayers' money into his province in the form of aid," the Daily Mail report said

Shehbaz: Fabricated story was taken at behest of Pak PM
Shehbaz Sharif. Pic/AFP

Islamabad: Leader of the Opposition in Pakistan's National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif has said that he will file a law suit against a UK newspaper for publishing a "fabricated and misleading story" blaming him for stealing British foreign aid money, Pakistani media reported on Monday. The former Punjab Chief Minister accused the 'Daily Mail' of publishing the story "at the behest" of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his aide Shahzad Akbar and said he will initiate legal proceedings against them as well. "Have decided to file law suit against Daily Mail. The fabricated and misleading story was published at the behest of Imran Khan and Shahzad Akbar. We will also launch legal proceedings against them," Sharif said in a tweet on Sunday.

"Btw Imran Khan has yet to respond to three such cases I filed against him for defamation," he said. The report, quoting investigators and a "confidential investigation report", claimed that the money "stolen" by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president between the 2005 earthquake and 2012, also came from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID)-funded aid projects, the Dawn newspaper reported. "For years he was feted as a Third World poster boy by Britain's Department for International Development, which poured more than 500 million pounds of UK taxpayers' money into his province in the form of aid," the Daily Mail report said.

"Yet, say investigators, all the time that DFID was heaping him and his government with praise and taxpayers' cash, Shehbaz and his family were embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it in Britain," it said. Earlier, the Daily Mail had reported that the DIFD had given Shehbaz 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, Geo News reported. It said Akbar, the Prime Minister's special assistant, said the PML-N President's son Suleman Shehbaz was the main culprit in the laundering of UK aid fund for earthquake victims. In his report British journalist David Rose has alleged that Shehbaz and his family had embezzled and laundered millions of pounds out of 500 million pounds aid coming from UK during his tenure as the chief minister of Punjab, The Express Tribune reported. PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb has termed the report "baseless" and a "propaganda campaign".

"Conspiratorial point of views and allegations have been published... news report does not mention any report by the UK government. It is fabricated, baseless and a pack of lies that has been invented by Imran Khan's conspiratorial mind," Aurangzeb said in a tweet. During a press conference, Aurangzeb also showed to the media a picture showing journalist Rose sitting with Prime Minister Khan and Akbar. Rose hit back at the PML-N leaders for terming his news story as "baseless" and "propaganda campaign". "The PML-N trolls in Pakistan are posting a photo of me with Imran Khan, claiming this shows my article about Shehbaz was 'planted'. The photo was taken last year, when I interviewed him before the election. Here's the proof," he said while sharing the web link of the interview published on July 21, 2018 in the same paper, The Express Tribune reported. Sharif, 67, is the younger brother of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, 69, who is facing corruption charges in three cases. Shahbaz was allegedly involved in the corruption of Rs 14 billion Ashiana Housing project and Rs 4 billion Punjab Saaf Pani Company scams.

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