Govt's legal minds mull cases against Tareen

PM's camp questioning why judiciary granted relief to Shehbaz

Hasnaat Malik May 20, 2021


The federal government's top legal minds on Thursday discussed the substance of cases against estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen.

A lengthy meeting was held with Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar and Senator Ali Zafar in attendance at the AGP office.

Last month, when a group of PTI lawmakers, also known as the Tareen group, accused the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of victimising the former party secretary general in a sugar scam case, Senator Zafar was assigned by Prime Minister Imran Khan to “impartially” ascertain the facts of the investigation.

After the meeting, Zafar while talking to the media refused to comment on his fact-finding report on Tareen.

However, it is learnt that Zafar has already completed his work and would share his findings with the PM in the next couple of days.

Sources told The Express Tribune that Zafar believed that the Tareen issue was political rather than legal in nature and needed to be sorted out “politically”.

Also read: ‘Group' formed in response to Punjab govt's actions: Tareen

A section of the PM’s legal team contends that the charges against Tareen have substance and the government could not give him a clean chit.

They also believe that if the government quashed all proceedings against Tareen, then the prime minister's whole narrative on accountability would be negatively affected. However, they are also realising that to maintain stability in the Punjab and federal governments, there was a need to find out a middle way. They added that the government should also try to address the “fair reservations” of Tareen related to his cases.

A senior PTI leader, who is close to Tareen, believes that it is game of nerves and they are prepared to face any kind of situation.

He revealed that one section within the government was still active against Tareen.

He added that if Zafar presented his report in favour of Tareen, it will be demeaning for the government, which was rejecting his claim that he was being victimised.

It has also been learnt that unlike in the past, the civilian and military authorities are not on the same page on Tareen. The premier's close aides believe that the Tareen group was being backed by the military establishment.

Similarly, the PM's camp is also questioning why the judiciary had granted relief to PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif.

They are concerned about reports of backdoor reconciliation between Shehbaz and the military establishment. Similarly, the PM's camp is also debating on the timing of MPA Chaudhry Nasir taking oath of his office.

The question that arises is that whether or not the PML-N would agree to replace Usman Buzdar with Chaudhry Nisar as the chief minister of Punjab.

A senior PTI leader admits that if the PM does not replace Buzdar, then he will be removed by the Tareen group.

Also read: There will be no injustice: PM tells Tareen group

Political analysts believe that a change in Punjab is dependent on PM Imran's relationship with the military establishment. The Chaudhry brothers are very important players in the politics of Punjab and will wait for the establishment's green signal to change Buzdar.

The analysts say that the lawmakers belonging to the Tareen group will also give priority to the establishment’s desire to replace the Punjab CM and Shehbaz is already in touch with them.

Separately, a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah on May 25 will take up the federal government's appeal against the Lahore High Court's interim order allowing Shehbaz to travel abroad.