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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Has Jahangir Tareen been given clean chit?

Barrister Zafar has reportedly absolved Mr Tareen of all charges of Satta (sugar pricing manipulation), sugar price hike and any other illegal work in sugar related matters.

Some media reports claim that Jahangir Tareen has been given a clean chit after Senator Barrister Ali Zafar’s analysis of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cases. “Barrister Zafar has absolved Mr Tareen of all charges of Satta (sugar pricing manipulation), sugar price hike and any other illegal work in sugar related matters,” MNA Raja Riaz, a spokesperson for Mr Tareen’s group of lawmakers, told daily Dawn.

“Barrister Zafar had briefed adviser to prime minister on accountability Shahzad Akbar and Jahangir Tareen in a meeting on Tuesday in Islamabad on his findings about the sugar scam probe. Mr Zafar told them that Mr Tareen had not been found guilty of the charges framed by the FIA Lahore,” Mr Riaz said and added that a ‘clean chit’ had been given to Mr Tareen by Mr Zafar and the Tareen group thanked Prime Minister Khan in this respect.

Mr Riaz also said that Barrister Zafar had recommended that Mr Tareen’s case should be forwarded to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) as FIA had nothing to do with it.

“After Barrister Zafar’s findings the enemies of Mr Tareen stand exposed,” said Riaz. Both Mr Akbar and Mr Zafar denied having a joint meeting with Mr Tareen in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Mr Zafar said he had meetings with Mr Tareen but did not see him in the presence of Mr Akbar on Tuesday. “Some persons/media are busy guessing on what my findings in JKT (Jahangir Khan Tareen) turn out to be. Let me make it clear that there is no report submitted by me. Any findings, not necessarily in writing, shall be purely internal to the PTI and have no legal value or status nor can the same have any relevance to or affect pending inquiries/investigations against the sugar barons or Mr Tareen,” Mr Zafar said in a series of tweets on Wednesday.

“As per the policy of the Government of PM IK there is no room for concessions against corruption. However I have been tasked to see into complaints of JKT and will be making my recommendations directly and only to the PM once I conclude,” Zafar said.

Some analysts believe that since Zafar’s findings had landed the PTI government in an awkward position because of its ‘accountability narrative’ the cronies of PM Khan were trying to block his (Zafar) report. “Those around PM Khan do not want this report to be made public as it will compromise its NRO narrative,” an insider told Dawn.

FIA will work independently, Prime Minster tells Tareen-group

Notably, last month, talking to a delegation of some pro-Tareen lawmakers, Prime Minister Imran Khan had categorically said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would not be influenced to give relief to the disgruntled leader in the sugar scam probe but he would personally look into the matter to avoid any political victimisation in the case.

The head of the MNAs’ delegation, Riaz, had told the media after attending the meeting that the prime minister had assured them that he would personally look into the case and ensure that no injustice was meted out to anyone.

Read more: Pakistani Senate Elections: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?

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 victimising Jahangir Tareen were genuine.

Tareen had said that he was ready to face any inquiry but to drag his son into the case was unjustified.