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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Did PM Imran Khan give NRO to Jahangir Tareen?

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the Federal Investi­gation Agency would not be influenced to give relief to Jahangir Tareen in the sugar scam probe. However, the premier would personally look into the matter to avoid any political victimization in the case. Has the NRO been given?

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday categorically said the Federal Investi­gation Agency (FIA) would not be influenced to give relief to the estranged leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Jahangir Tareen, in the sugar scam probe but he would personally look into the matter to avoid any political victimization in the case.

He was talking to a delegation of some pro-Tareen lawmakers who called on him. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar was also present in the meeting.

The head of the MNAs’ delegation, Raja Riaz, told media after attending the meeting that Prime Minister Khan had assured them that he would personally look into the case and ensure that no injustice was meted out to anyone. “We have full confidence that the prime minister will not do injustice to anyone,” he said.

The prime minister formed a one-man committee comprising his confidant, Senator Syed Ali Zafar, to ascertain whether the delegation’s concerns that some people in the government and the PTI were politically victimizing Jahangir Tareen were genuine. The decision to form the committee was made a day after media reports claimed the government had changed FIA’s sugar inquiry chief.

According to media reports, the sugar scam inquiry team’s head FIA Director for Lahore Mohammad Rizwan was removed from the investigation with immediate effect.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Rizwan’s removal was the main demand of the former PTI secretary general Jehangir Tareen and the lawmakers supporting him.

Pro-Tareen group

These lawmakers include 11 National Assembly members (MNAs) including Minister for State and Frontier Regions Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan. The MNAs include Raja Riaz, Sami Gillani, Riaz Mazari, Khwaja Sheeraz, Mobeen Alam Anwar, Javed Waraich, Ghulam Lali, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Faizul Hassan Shah and Sahibzada Ameer Sultan.

A total of 22 ruling party lawmakers from the Punjab Assembly (MPAs) are also part of the group that is now tagged as the PTI’s “Hum Khayal” Group.

These include two provincial ministers – Nauman Langrial and Ajmal Cheema and four provincial advisers – Abdul Hai Dasti, Ameer M Khan, Rafaqat Gillani and Faisal Jabuwana.

Tareen was once considered a close friend of Prime Minister Imran Khan. However, the PTI’s former secretary general was side-lined after an inquiry report about a sugar crisis accused him of benefiting from a steep hike in prices of the commodity in January 2020.

In an apparent reference to Tareen, PM Imran while talking to reporters in Sargodha last week said he was ready to meet and listen to the grievances of party’s lawmakers but added that sugar price was increased by Rs26 per kilogramme which robbed the nation of Rs130 billion.

Last week, PTI MNAs and MPAs, who accompanied Tareen to the banking court in show of support, had warned the premier, saying “if the things remained unchanged, if humiliation of Jahangir Tareen continues with the same pace, then we can take any extreme decision”.

Read More: Power corridors’ prolonged association with sugar mills

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