Don't force our hand, PTI MPs warn govt over Tareen

Few lawmakers of ruling party propose quitting assemblies


Our Correspondent April 18, 2021
PHOTO: FACEBOOK/@JahangirKTareen

LAHORE:

The PTI lawmakers, who are backing dissident party leader Jahangir Tareen, on Saturday warned the government that they would be compelled to take extreme measures if the injustice being meted out to the former party general secretary did not stop.

Speaking to reporters after they accompanied Tareen to a banking court in Lahore, a group of around 30 MNAs and MPAs of the ruling party warned Prime Minister Imran Khan if matters were not taken care of soon, it might be too late.

Earlier, the court extended the interim bail of the PTI dissident leader and his son Ali Tareen till May 3, when it would announce whether the case fell under its jurisdiction or not.

“We believe that Jahangir Tareen is being humiliated through such cowardly moves. Nothing can be gained through such ways, this matter should be brought to its logical conclusion,” demanded PTI lawmaker Raja Riaz.

“We are warning the prime minister for the last time. If things are not wrapped up soon, they might get out of control,” he added.
Tareen, while speaking to the media on the occasion, said he was not involved in any wrongdoing and earned all his money through legal means.

He added that the aim of the cases and inquiry against him was merely to sideline him from mainstream politics.
“Not even a single word about the sugar scam has been mentioned in the FIR registered against me,” he pointed out.

He also claimed that the purpose of the sugar inquiry was not to bring down the prices of the sweetener but to humiliate him.
“I will fight the cases and prove my innocence in the courts,” he added.

Later, the lawmakers met at Tareen's residence to discuss their future course of action.

Sources said a few participants of the meeting, presided over by Tareen, proposed resigning from the assemblies if the dissident party leader continued to be subjected to injustice.

However, the option of immediate resignations was rejected.

The sources added that the participants of the meeting decided to reach out to more disgruntled PTI lawmakers, who were unhappy with the government’s policies.

Tareen convened another meeting of like-minded lawmakers at his residence in Lahore on April 21. More members of the assemblies are expected to attend that meeting, where the next line of action would be discussed.

During the proceedings of the banking court, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) admitted that it had “mistakenly” accused Tareen of money laundering in one of the FIRs it had lodged against him.

The FIA counsel told the court that the agency had “inadvertently committed a mistake” by claiming that banking transactions were made in favour of Tareen using fake accounts.

“The truth is that no fake accounts have been used in making transactions with the JWD sugar mills owned by Jahangir Tareen,” the counsel told the judge.

In FIR 18/2021, the FIA had maintained that an employee was withdrawing Rs.2.2 billion from JWD accounts and depositing the money in accounts of the Tareens as well as associated companies for three years.

After the FIA's admission, Tareen’s lawyer Salman Safdar said it was for the first time that a state institution had admitted that part of an FIR was wrong.

“Otherwise, the prosecution utilises all its powers to establish the FIR’s content,” he added.
“This is their first admission. The truth is that all the FIRs registered against my clients have nothing to do with reality. These FIRs have been registered merely to humiliate my clients.”

The FIA later requested the court to refer the case to a district and sessions court. It argued that the case did not fall under the jurisdiction of a banking court.

The judge, while granting interim bail to Tareen and his son till May 3, adjourned the proceedings till that date.

He will also announce the decision on the request to transfer the case on May 3.

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