Imran 'under a lot of pressure' over sugar crisis, says Tareen - Pakistan Today

Imran ‘under a lot of pressure’ over sugar crisis, says Tareen

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Jahangir Khan Tareen has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was “under a lot of pressure” because of allegations that members from his party were involved in the sugar price hike across the country.

“There are people that keep insisting that it [sugar price hike] is because of me and a couple of other party members and that he was not getting an inquiry done. So it is a welcome step and everything will come out in the open because of it,” Tareen said in an interview with a private media outlet late Monday night.

“They should go to the farmers, ask them how much money they are getting, assess the situation,” he added.

Tareen, who is amongst the key players in the sugar production industry, dismissed reports that he or other sugar mill owners were involved in hoarding the commodity that led to an exponential increase in prices all over the country.

“Sugar mill owners cannot afford to hoard sugar, they do not have the money to do it,” Tareen said.

“This inquiry committee that the prime minister has set up is very welcome. It will be good, the committee can look at facts and decide what happened, once and for all,” he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted a three-member committee to probe the recent countrywide hike in sugar prices. According to a document issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the committee will comprise the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon, a representative of the Intelligence Bureau not below grade 20/21, and the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Director General Gohar Nafees.

The committee “will also identify and fix responsibility, if any, on any individual/officer/organisation, including any purported benefit to a private party, besides suggesting a way forward for the future course of action.”

When asked if the formation of the committee meant that Imran Khan was not trusting him anymore, Tareen said: “I don’t think it’s like that — but that is my own opinion — you should ask Imran Khan directly about this, because when he says it I’m sure you will trust [his word] more.”

PARTY DIVISIONS UNFORTUNATE:

Answering a question regarding Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Tareen said that while he took time to adjust to his role, “Buzdar is now starting to do well.”

“Look, the prime minister decided that in Punjab, I will bring in someone new, someone who is not affiliated with any group, so that he is not under the influence of anyone,

“He [Buzdar] was new [on the job] and it took him a while to adjust [to his role]. Now I believe that Buzdar sahab’s capacity has been built a lot more.”

“He has admitted that it took him time to adjust.” After much insistence for an answer on the host’s part, Tareen admitted that he is now “satisfied with the party’s performance in Punjab”.

“It is unfortunate that there are divisions in the party — and this is a fact, there is no point in not admitting it — and these should not exist, but they do. Everyone is not on the same page.

“When there are divisions and factions anywhere, running a country, or even a company, becomes difficult,” he said.

When asked if these divisions exist because everyone is pursuing “their own core agenda, and Imran Khan is not a disciplinarian,” Tareen said that there “should be more discipline in the party”.

“People should not be allowed to shoot off their mouths. And when there is discipline in the party,[the party’s] work will improve a lot.”

When asked what kind of discipline he is talking about, Tareen said “There needs to be some kind of discipline. People should be told that everyone needs to be on one team and if you cannot be a team player, then you should not be in the team.”

Answering a question regarding the need for Imran Khan to appoint a chief of staff, Tareen said: “A chief of staff is an essential hire for any prime minister. And if one is hired, [things] would be a lot better.”

When asked if he would be interested in becoming the chief of staff if the position is offered to him, Tareen said: “I cannot be, due to the ‘travesty of justice’ that occurred, I will not be able to hold that position.

Earlier on the show, Tareen said that he and Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi had talked things out and now they “do not have any differences”.

“Differences had come between us [in the past couple of years], but we go too far back — we used to play squash together as young boys — so we talked things out and we do not have any differences now,” the PTI leader said.

However, the PTI leader did admit that there is an “anti-JKT (Jahangir Khan Tareen) camp” in the party.

“Look, what I do is that I do my work — my objective is to make Pakistan better — and then if something is not right somewhere, I point it out to the prime minister,” Tareen said.

Answering a question regarding the need for Imran Khan to appoint a chief of staff, Tareen said: “A chief of staff is an essential hire for any prime minister. And if one is hired, [things] would be a lot better.”

When asked if he would be interested in becoming the chief of staff if the position is offered to him, Tareen said: “I cannot be, due an unfortunate ‘travesty of justice’ that occurred, I will not be able to hold that position.



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