Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Jahangir Tareen has rejected the allegations made by Privatisation Commission Chairman Zubair Umar that he had become a billionaire during the military government of General (r) Pervez Musharraf.
Speaking in a news channel’s talk show, Tareen said that he started his business career in 1977.
“I started with farming at my ancestral land and then entered a beverages business with some other family members. I was CEO of Pepsi Multan for 10 years after which I left the business,” he said.
Tareen denied that he had begun his other businesses during Musharraf’s regime, saying he launched his first sugar mill, JDW Sugar Mills in Lodhran in 1992 when Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister.
“I now own four sugar mills, the most recent being Dehrki Sugar Mills which was launched after the end of Musharraf’s government. The only reason my sugar business grew is by improving the payment schedule with growers,” he said.
Tareen said that the bank default charge made against him was also untrue as the company accused of defaulting on the loan – Superior Textiles of which he was a minority shareholder – had actually made early payment of its loan but instead of mentioning it under the “Rebate” head, the bank had accidently labelled it as “Written Off” loan.
“I only came to know about it when the allegation was levelled by Zubair Umar,” he said, adding that the company would itself clarify the charges. He said that he paid an annual tax of around Rs 25 million and was not a bank defaulter.
Tareen claimed that the Tax Directory issued by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif continued to draw salary from Chaudhry Sugar Mills while Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz were drawing salaries from Ramzan Sugar Mills even though they were enjoying public offices.
“I resigned from my position at my sugar mill when I became the minister for industries and also stopped taking salary. The government should explain whether it’s ethical for the PM and Punjab chief minister to engage in private business when they are holding public offices,” he said.
On the use of his company’s aircraft by Imran Khan, Tareen said that it should not be any person’s business to criticise how his aircraft was being used as he was paying the expenses from his own pocket.