Tareen, allies refuse talks with govt

Former secretary-general (SG) for the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Jahangir Khan Tareen and other lawmakers of the party who allied with the estranged leader have refused to hold talks with the incumbent government.

It emerges that the relations between Tareen and Prime Minister Imran Khan have become estranged. According to reports, PM Imran had extended an invitation to Tareen and his allies to hold talks, which has now been purportedly rejected.

Tareen had returned to Pakistan in November after ending his seven-month-long self-imposed exile after falling out with Prime Minister Imran Khan following an inquiry into the last year’s sugar scandal that accused several sugar producers — including him — of “underreported sales and fraud”.

At the time, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar had declared sugar-producing units under Tareen’s JDW-Group were found guilty of “double billing” and “over-invoicing” as well as “corporate fraud”.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has frozen a total of 36 accounts in nine different banks in this case, with reported millions of rupees in the account.

Of the frozen accounts, the PTI leader owns 14, his son 21 and his wife owns one bank account.

Earlier this week, more than 30 members of the national and provincial assemblies attended the gathering and discussed the roadmap ahead for the party while a majority of lawmakers offered to resign in support of Tareen.

Last week, a banking court in Lahore had extended until May 3 the pre-arrest bail period of Tareen and his son Ali Tareen in three cases lodged by the FIA in the sugar scam, which also carries charges of money laundering and corporate fraud.

Talking to reporters outside the court, Tareen had said that he does not know who was running the character assassination campaigns against him but he will find those responsible.

He had recalled that he started his business decades before entering politics, adding that “baseless and false reports” were being made and spread against him. Tareen had further said that there is no relation to sugar prices in the FIRs lodged against him and his son.

“I don’t know who is behind registering FIR against me,” Tareen had said on the occasion, who was accompanied by at least a dozen parliamentarians of PTI.

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