Govt irons out wrinkles with Tareen group

Dissident lawmakers decide to vote for their party in budget session

Our Correspondent May 21, 2021
Dissident leader Jahangir Tareen meeting PTI lawmakers at his residence in Lahore. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/@JahangirKTareen


The federal government on Thursday successfully sorted out its issues with the PTI lawmakers belonging to the Jahangir Tareen group, convincing them to withdraw their decision to boycott the budget session of the National Assembly.

The “group” of the PTI's dissident lawmakers, who claim that they are not a forward bloc, are backing former party general secretary Tareen in the wake of the fraud and money laundering charges against him.

Sources said federal ministers officially met Tareen for the first time. Representatives of the Punjab government also participated in the meeting.

During the meeting, Tareen informed the federal ministers of the Punjab government’s “retaliatory actions” against the group. He added that the Punjab government was subjecting them to political victimisation.

The federal ministers assured Tareen that his reservations would be addressed.

On this, the lawmakers belonging to the Tareen group decided to vote for the government in the budget session.

Tareen told the federal ministers that he and members if his group were part of the PTI.

“The purpose of forming a separate group was to identify the injustices against us,” he added.

Read: Govt's legal minds mull cases against Tareen

The former party general secretary hoped that the government would ensure justice as promised. The sources said the government and the Tareen group would meet again on Saturday.

Separately, Senator Ali Zafar, who was nominated for the job by Prime Minister Imran Khan, has finished questioning the stakeholders in the case against Tareen.

Sources said Zafar was in the process of writing recommendations for submission to the prime minister, a task he is expected to complete within the next few days.

The report will be submitted to the premier  this weekend or early next week.

The sources told The Express Tribune that Zafar had met with the lawyers representing Tareen and others to learn about their position. He also found out the facts behind the interviews of officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other government agencies.

A day earlier, the estranged PTI leader told reporters outside a Lahore court that the like-minded “group” of party lawmakers supporting him was formed in response to Punjab government's retaliatory actions.

However, Tareen refuted reports of a division in the party.

Read more: ‘Group' formed in response to Punjab govt's actions: Tareen

“We have not formed a forward bloc. We have appointed a focal person [Sardar Saeed Akbar Khan Niwani] to represent us in the [Punjab] assembly,” he added.

“The prime minister had promised to deliver us with justice but then the Punjab government began acts of retaliation against us," he claimed.

"We decided that we will raise our voice in the Punjab Assembly. The entire responsibility [of this development] lies on the Punjab government."

However, he conceded that the group of like-minded lawmakers of the party had existed for around three months.

Refuting media reports, he said: "Let me make it clear that we are and will continue to remain part of the PTI."

Tareen demanded that the Punjab government must immediately stop its pressure tactics against his group including transfers.

“My bail has been extended till May 31, and the FIA has been asked to complete its probe,” he elaborated.