Keeping the lid on

No alternative to releasing the report

The supporters of Jahangir Tarin set great store by the report of Syed Ali Zafar into the matter, which supposedly exculpated him in the sugar scandal. However, the report is being held back. Though it has not been formally made, it was the subject of discussion at a recent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, and attended by Mr Zafar, PM’s Interior Adviser Shahzad Akbar and Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan. The report not only acquits Mr Tarin, but it finds the case against him politically motivated. Mr Akbar is supposed to be responsible for the charges being preferred. The Attorney General is said to have decided that Mr Akbar had the rights of the matter.

Mr Akbar is one of the persons Mr Tarin holds responsible for having had him involved in the case. If the report becomes public, it would be an important step in his rehabilitation, though his having formed groups in the National and Punjab Assemblies may have lost him Mr Khan’s trust permanently. However, for the report to become public, it would have to get past Secretary to PM Azam Khan, whom Mr Tarin accuses of being involved in the cabal against him, of which Mr Akbar is supposed to be a member.

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Perhaps one of the most interested parties in this report’s being made public would be the opposition, for the evidence they hope to find of the government’s methods of dealing with opponents. If the report is not made public, the opposition will cite it as an instance of the government’s political vindictiveness. The government should realize that a report finding someone innocent cannot be suppressed forever. The PTI cannot claim bias in Mr Zafar, whom it gave a Senate ticket from Punjab only a couple of months ago. It is also important for Mr Khan not to appear to be favouring any side in this process, and the easiest way out for him would be to let the report be made public. Even if it sheds an unwanted light on his methods, that does not mean the methods cannot be used in future.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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