The paper claimed it has interviewed ‘key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen Aftab Mehmood’.
DESPARDES — UK’s Daily Mail newspaper has accused former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif of ‘embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it in Britain’.
Quoting Pakistani investigators, the report said ‘some of the allegedly stolen money came from the Department for International Development (DFID) aid projects’. The report, titled “Did the family of Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British overseas aid STEAL funds meant for earthquake victims, asks DAVID ROSE”, said the newspaper was given exclusive access to “some of the results of a high-level probe ordered by Prime Minister Imran Khan”.
The paper also claimed to have interviewed ‘key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen Aftab Mehmood’.
“He claims he laundered millions on behalf of Shahbaz’s family from a nondescript office in Birmingham – without attracting suspicion from Britain’s financial regulators, who inspected his books regularly.”
The Sharif family, however, denied the allegations leveled in the report.
Shahbaz tweeted that he has decided to file a lawsuit against the paper. He called the report fabricated, misleading and published at the behest of Imran Khan and Shahzad Akbar. “We will also launch legal proceedings against them.”
Senior Pakistani journalist and talk show host Nasim Zehra said, “If Shahbaz Sharif wants to prove the Daily Mail story is concocted , he will have to file a defamation case in a UK court against
#DailyMail & the author of the story.”
Shahbaz’s son Suleman termed the allegations “product of a ‘political witch-hunt’ ordered by the Pakistani government”.
‘No allegation has been proven. There is no evidence of kickbacks,’ he said.
Former minister and senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal termed the report a ‘pack of lies’ and ‘paid’. Talking to media, Iqbal said Daily Mail is not a reliable source of information and even Wikipedia does not cite the newspaper.
According to DFID, UK has supported over 8 million people in Pakistan following natural disasters and conflict since 2011.