Shehbaz says stealing from earthquake victims is like 'feeding on corpses'

LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said he considers stealing from earthquake victims the same as “feeding on corpses”, as he responded to allegations levelled against him in a British newspaper.

Earlier this week, UK newspaper the Mail on Sunday had published an investigative story alleging that Shehbaz Sharif, the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), 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.

Strict security arrangements were in place and a heavy contingent of police present outside the accountability court where a large number of PML-N activists had arrived for the hearing.

Speaking in the court, the PML-N president said that his son Hamza Shehbaz was in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and that the anti-graft body had to produce him in court.

He said that he was on bail after his earlier arrest in the Aashiana Housing Scheme case, and that he still appeared regularly in court on every hearing.

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

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

Shehbaz Sharif further said that if he had committed any corruption then the Erra official should have been presented in court as well.

The court subsequently adjourned the case to August 1, ordering Hamza Shehbaz to also be produced in court in the next hearing.