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July 21, 2019

Stealing quake aid akin to feeding on corpses: Shahbaz

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July 21, 2019

LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has said he considers stealing from earthquake victims as “feeding on corpses”, Geo News reported.

The president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was responding to claims of The Mail on Sunday, which published an investigative report alleging he had stolen funds from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) meant as aid for earthquake victims in Pakistan. The PML-N president appeared in an accountability court in Lahore for the hearing of the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case. Elaborate security arrangements were in place and a heavy contingent of police was present outside the accountability court where a large number of PML-N activists had arrived for the hearing.

Speaking in court, the PML-N president said his son Hamza Shahbaz was in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the anti-graft body had to produce him in court. He said he was on bail after his earlier arrest in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case, and he still appeared regularly in court on every hearing.

Speaking about the allegations in the newspaper, Shahbaz said the accusations in the news story were “ludicrous”. He said he considered stealing aid money meant for earthquake victims forbidden and the same as “feeding on corpses”.

He asked why the “fictitious story” was published, and said he had written a letter to the Prime Minister inquiring where the NAB was when the alleged money-laundering was taking place by an official working for the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra).

Shahbaz further said if he had committed any corruption, the Erra official should have been presented in court as well. The court subsequently adjourned the case to August 1, ordering Hamza Shahbaz to also be produced in court in the next hearing.

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