‘Not accused of any wrongdoing’: Daily Mail apologises to Pakistan PM Shehbaz for false corruption allegation

The British publication issued a clarification published on its website on Thursday.

press trust of india

islamabad,Updates: December 8, 2022 23:37 IST

Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif

by Press Trust of India: A major British publication and news site has apologized to Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for an “error” in an article it published in 2019 – in which it accused the premier of “stealing British foreign aid money”, a As per media report.

British publication The Mail on Sunday and news site Mail Online apologized to Shehbaz on Thursday.

The said story, written by investigative journalist David Rose, has now been removed from the publication’s website and other platforms.

Dawn reported that the article, published on July 14, 2019, claimed that Shehbaz had embezzled funds provided by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) for rehabilitation of the 2005 earthquake while he was the chief minister of Punjab. Were.

It cited former accountability chief Shahzad Akbar and a few other individuals – none of whom held official positions. The story was immediately denied by the PML-N and the party insisted that it was published “at the behest of (PTI chairman) Imran Khan”.

It was also rejected by DFID, which said the body’s “robust systems protect UK taxpayers from fraud”.

In January 2020, the Prime Minister filed a defamation claim against the “bizarre allegation”, claiming a refund, damages and an apology.

In March this year, the newspaper had given a 50-page reply to Shehbaz’s defamation suit.

In a clarification published on its website, the British publication said: “An article on Shehbaz Sharif published on 14 July referred to ‘Are the family of the Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British foreign aid stealing funds for earthquake victims? In 2019, we reported on an investigation into Sharif by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau and suggested that the funds under investigation did not include a significant amount of British public money that was diverted to DFID grant-in-aid. was paid to the Punjab Province.

It added that the premier “has never been accused by the National Accountability Bureau of any wrongdoing in relation to British public money or DFID grant-in-aid”.

The Daily Mail said, “We are pleased to clarify this and apologize to Sharif for this mistake.”

Citing investigators and a “confidential investigation report”, the article claimed that money “stolen” by the PML-N president between the 2005 earthquake and 2012 was from aid projects funded by Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID). had come. , reported Dawn.