–PML-N president says if he was guilty of embezzlement, why was he arrested in other cases
–Says PML-N won’t cave into the pressure exerted by govt under garb of accountability
LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim Leauge-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday rejected Daily Mail’s accusations of him embezzling money from funds given to Pakistan for rehabilitation of earthquake victims.
Addressing a press conference along with Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq and Maryam Aurangzeb, the PML-N president said that when the 2005 earthquake hit Pakistan, he was living in exile in the United Kingdom (UK). “This is such a disgusting allegation that I stole money from an earthquake fund and gave it to my children,” he said.
“If I was guilty of this charge, why did you have to arrest me in Ashiana or Ramzan Sugar Mills case when you could have arrested me in this one,” he added.
Speaking about Daily Mail report’s claim that former Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) chairman Ikram Naveed had laundered money for his family, he said that ERRA is a federal institution and provincial government does not have control over it. He further added that Naveed had been removed in 2011 over corruption charges.
He said that DFID gave 500 million pounds to Punjab during his 10-year tenure as the chief minister. “Ask me anything about that money but they do not want to talk about that,” he said.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has defamed him but why did he defame the country in the process of doing so,” he said.
Speaking about the arrest of former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday, Shehbaz termed the arrest “worst revenge against PML-N in the garb of accountability”.
He claimed that Abbasi was arrested in a “crude manner” and when he asked for arrest warrants, NAB officials just stared at each other’s faces.
“NAB DG appeared and showed a WhatsApp message to the former premier. When Abbasi asked for a warrant signed by the NAB chairman, they presented a photocopy,” he added.
Shehbaz also accused PM Imran of ruining the country’s economy in the past 10 months. “This arrest is an attempt to distract the nation from the government’s performance,” he alleged.
“Abbasi had ensured that power generated from RLNG plants in Haveli Bahadur Shah, Bhikki and Balloki was supplied to Karachi. Is his crime serving the nation or is supporting Nawaz Sharif his crime,” he asked.
He alleged that the opposition was suffering because of the government’s “incompetence”. He also said that NAB jails are filled with PML-N members. “PM Imran has been unable to do anything for this country and wants to destroy everything. He has lost his sleep over this,” he added.
Shehbaz criticised the government for the recent hike in prices, saying that rupee devaluation had harmed the country. He also accused PM Imran of defaming the country in the world. “This is not the first time we are suffering from revenge tactics. People know what happened to us during the Musharraf era and how badly we were treated. But we are still here and we remain committed to serving the people of Pakistan,” he concluded.