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Monday, April 22, 2024

Shahzad Akbar Challenges Shehbaz Sharif to Sue & take him to British Court

Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, stated that Shehbaz Sharif “would not dare sue” him and the Daily Mail.

Addressing the media on Sunday, the Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability said that the former Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has made false claims of filing a case in a United Kingdom court against the British publication Daily Mail and him for publishing a story, which, according to Sharif, maligned his reputation.

David Rose, the British investigative journalist who had written the story published in Daily Mail, also reiterated that no lawsuit has been filed against him and his newspaper.

David Rose tweeted, “Hello Pakistani friends. A lot of you have been asking if Shehbaz Sharif has commenced a lawsuit against me and my newspaper yet. He hasn’t.”

Sharif Just Lodged a Complaint

Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability, Shahzad Akbar said that Sharif has merely filed a complaint against the newspaper for publishing a story on his involvement in misusing UK aid funds, dispatched as a relief for the earthquake victims.

Akbar said that Shehbaz Sharif should have approached the British courts to fulfill his claims of filing a lawsuit, and he added that David Rose, the journalist who published the story, continues to stand by his investigative report.

Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability said that Shahbaz Sharif complained to Daily Mail that the reporter neglected to mention his version of the story, but did not deny any of the facts mentioned in the report.

The SAPM has challenged the PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition to take him a court in London so that he can be proven guilty in a matter of months, as in Pakistan, such a case would take years to conclude.

Akbar said, “If Shahbaz Sharif has only filed a lawsuit against the Daily Mail and left me out, then he would be a part of the case as a third-party to prove his family’s involvement in money laundering through telegraphic transfers.”

Shahzad Akbar said that he has substantial evidence to incriminate Shahbaz Sharif’s son in law, Ali Imran, who had transferred large amounts from the funds designated for the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA).

Read more: Money laundering allegations: Has Shehbaz Sharif filed a case against Daily Mail?

Akbar added that the former ERRA director, Naveed Ikram was favored by Shehbaz Sharif and for his services in illegally transferring funds to his son in law’s bank accounts, he was appointed on multiple high-profile positions. Later, Ikram had made a plea bargain with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

“Sharif wouldn’t Dare Sue Me”

Shahzad Akbar reiterated his challenge that Shehbaz Sharif would not dare to file a lawsuit against him and the Daily Mail. He said, “I feel neglected after Shehbaz merely launched a complaint against the Daily Mail instead of filing a lawsuit against me in a London court.”

He accused the PML-N President of attempting to avoid legal proceedings, which are likely to further implicate him in the matter. Akbar added that some reporters have published stories in several newspapers that attempt to give the wrong impression, and he cited a news story headlined, “Shehbaz Sharif sues Daily Mail over the politically motivated story”.

Akbar said that he is present to clarify and negate such stories. Quoting a press release issued by Carter-Ruck, the legal firm representing Shehbaz Sharif, Akbar said, “The PML-N president has issued a formal legal complaint against the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, and its journalist David Rose, about an article published on Sunday, 14 July 2019.”

No Counter-Claims by Shahbaz

Shahzad explained that Carter-Ruck delivered a four-page complaint to Daily Mail on Sharif’s behalf, and in this complaint, the PML-N President did not deny any of the allegations leveled in the investigative report by David Rose. He did not submit any counter-claims to negate the investigations of the report, but merely raised questions over the contents of the article.

Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability said that Shahbaz Sharif complained to Daily Mail that the reporter neglected to mention his version of the story, but did not deny any of the facts mentioned in the report. Akbar quipped that Sharif had forgotten that David Rose clearly mentioned in his story that he had approached the personal secretaries of Sharif to obtain his version.

Read more: Shehbaz sues British publication, journalist over ‘politically motivated’ story

Akbar added that in his complaint, Shahbaz Sharif claimed that he wasn’t present in Pakistan when the 2005 earthquake occurred, and in response, David Rose tweeted that the alleged theft of the UK Aid funds occurred during the period 2009 to 2011.

Shahzad added that after the revelations of Sharif family’s involvement in the earthquake relief funds for the victims of 2005 provided by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the PML-N President had vowed to file a libel suit against him (Shahzad Akbar) and the PTI leadership in London, but so far, no such efforts have materialized.

The Special Assistant to the PM once again reiterated his challenge to Shahbaz Sharif to take him to a court in London so his guilt can be proven. Akbar added that David Rose has only revealed 5% of the scores of evidence piled up to substantiate the accusations of corruption leveled against the Sharif family in the earthquake relief funds. He alleged that the remaining 95% of the evidence is held by him (Akbar).

Responding to a question on the high-powered inquiry commission formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan to investigate the corruption committed by the two former governments, Akbar said that the commission is probing multiple cases, including the case of the Independent Power Plants.

Read more: Complaint is not a Lawsuit: Will Shehbaz ever go to Court in UK?

Akbar vowed that the PTI leadership will not back down from its agenda of pursuing accountability against the leaders who have plundered the nation’s wealth. He added that a plea bargain is the only way these corrupt leaders can obtain relief from the court.