ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday told a group of ruling party lawmakers raising voice for party stalwart Jahangir Tareen that justice would be served with the Tareen family but the investigation would continue.
Sources in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have confided to Pakistan Today that the Tareen group urged the premier to form a judicial commission to probe the matter.
However, the sources said that the prime minister rejected the request and said that justice would be served to the Tareen family.
They said that the PTI group contended that PM’s advisor on Interior Shehzad Akbar was allegedly misusing the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against Tareen and the mills of Khusro Bakhtiar and Haroon Akhtar were not made part of the investigation.
Tareen group presented a charge sheet against Shehzad Akbar to the PM. Sources said that the prime minister directed Senator Ali Zafar to note all points raised by the Tareen group and said he himself would ensure that justice is done in Tareen’s case.
According to the copy of the charge sheet of Tareen group, it has been alleged by the Tareen group that Akbar is using FIA against Tareen and all the mills of the group were not included in the investigation; further stating that all the mills of Omni Group and Sharif family were also not included in the investigation.
Tareen group claimed that all demands were accepted by Prime Minister Imran.
After meeting Prime Minister Imran, Tareen group members Raja Riaz and Nazir Chauhan told the media that prime minister had assured that justice would be done in any case and he would not allow anyone to abuse power.
PTI MNA Raja Riaz said to the media after the meeting that the premier has assured the group that he is “personally monitoring” the inquiry against Tareen and will see to it that justice is served.
“We met the prime minister in a very cordial atmosphere. He has assured us that justice will be served after we expressed reservations over being singled. The prime minister said there is no question of such treatment being meted out to anyone,” Riaz said.
“The prime minister has asked for some time and Insha’Allah justice will be served,” the PTI leader added.
In reply to a question, Riaz said that the group shared their reservations regarding Akbar, after which “the prime minister said he will not allow injustice to be done with anyone and that we should leave it to him and he takes responsibility”.
Riaz clarified that the prime minister has not “acknowledged” that Akbar has meted out “unfair treatment” to Tareen, but the group has simply shared their concerns and the premier has assured them of looking into it.
The PTI MNA claimed that the prime minister said: “You are all my allies. Even those who are opposed to me, I wish to tell them, no one will be treated unfairly and justice will be done.”
Riaz said that the group thanked the premier for his assurances. “We have full confidence in our captain and our prime minister and Insha’Allah we will secure justice,” he added.
The PTI leader, responding to what time frame the prime minister has provided for the matter to be resolved, said that no such time period was provided.
Chauhan said that the prime minister listened to us in detail, we put our reservations before him, the premier accepted all his words.
He said that during the meeting, the delegation demanded to take cases from Akbar’s team and hand over the matter to an impartial team. Chauhan further said that on the concerns regarding Akbar, the premier that said he would monitor the case himself.
According to sources, the Tareen group which met the premier included 29 lawmakers including ten Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) and 19 Members of the Punjab Assembly (MPAs).
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.
The MPAs included two provincial ministers – Nauman Langrial and Ajmal Cheema and four provincial advisers – Abdul Hai Dasti, Ameer M Khan, Rafaqat Gillani and Faisal Jabuwana.
Other MPAs are Khurran Laghari, Aslam Bharwana, Nazir Chohan, Asif Majeed, Bilal Waraich, Umar Aftab, Tahir Randawa, Zawar Waraich, Nazir Baloch, Umer Tanveer Butt, Amin Chaudry, Chaudhary Iftikhar Gondal, Ghulam Rasool Sangha, Qasim Langah, Saeed Akbar Niwani, Salman Naeem and others.
FIA PROBER REMOVED:
The government on Monday removed the FIA officer heading the investigation against estranged PTI leader Tareen and his son Ali Tareen in last year’s sugar scam.
The development took place a day before a likely meeting of the posse of disgruntled PTI MPs — led by Tareen — with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad today.
The agency registered three cases against the two on charges of corporate fraud and money laundering in March. Tareen rejected the “fabricated” charge sheet, denying any wrongdoing.
“The head of the sugar scam inquiry team FIA Lahore chapter’s Director Mohammad Rizwan has been removed from the investigation with immediate effect,” a local publication quoted a source as saying. Rizwan’s removal, it said, was the main demand of the group.
However, it is yet to be confirmed whether Rizwan has also been transferred from his present posting.
The official had not only booked Tareen and his son but also registered cases against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif and his son Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz in the scam.
The probe under Rizwan had detected Rs110 billion earning by the sugar cartel in 2020 alone through “speculative pricing” — a practice prevalent in the markets where price movements of commodities are highly frequent and volatile.
“It has transpired that sugar industry barons, sugar-brokers & their satta-agents (speculative pricing players), in active connivance with sugar-mills, have transformed into a clandestine sugar satta-mafia and are operating in a collusive but secret-mode, especially through electronic means/ WhatsApp groups to dishonestly and fraudulently maneuver, manipulate and artificially hike sugar prices, amidst hoax of impending sugar-stocks shortages (while sugar-stocks are lying ‘unsold’ or ‘sold/un-lifted’ in mills & godowns and demand-supply gap is artificial),” an earlier FIA inquiry against the cartel said.
“The satta-mafia had already fraudulently ramped-up the (speculative) ex-mill price by Rs20/kg in last one year (from Rs70/kg on Feb 11, 2020 to Rs90 per kg on March 21, 2021; they are now conspiring to pump it upwards to Rs110 per kg in Ramzan,” it added.
Tareen had returned to Pakistan in November after ending his seven-month-long self-imposed exile after falling out with Prime Minister Imran 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”.
Tareen had rejected the findings of the Sugar Inquiry Commission. “I am shocked at the kind of false allegations levelled against me. I have always run a clean business. All Pakistan knows I always pay full price to my growers,” he had said in a tweet.
“I DO NOT maintain 2 sets of Books. I pay all my taxes diligently. I will answer every allegation and be vindicated IA.”