LAHORE: Estranged PTI senior leader Jahangir Tareen returned to the country after five months’ absence, sending a positive overture to the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan soon after his arrival here on Friday afternoon.
Mr Tareen said he would continue helping the government in its endeavours to control sugar shortage and price hike.
In a tweet, he said: “Let me state for the record that JDW is NOT part of the petition against the Punjab government notification to start sugar mills on 10th Nov. All of my mills, including those in Sindh will start crushing on 10th. Will play my part in helping the government overcome the sugar shortage and price hike.”
Estranged PTI leader facing FIA inquiry returns after five months’ absence
Mr Tareen, a close confidant of PM Khan and former PTI secretary general, had left Pakistan soon after the government made its much-trumpeted sugar inquiry commission report public in June that revealed the names of different players, including Mr Tareen and Khusro Bakhtiar, who had benefited from the sugar crisis. Mr Tareen had, however, said he was going abroad for his medical treatment and would return amidst opposition parties’ tirade that Imran Khan let his close confidant escape from the country.
Mr Tareen, who landed at Lahore airport along with his son Ali Tareen, told the media that he had left for London for his medical treatment and duly informed the government about that. He said he had been going to London for the past seven years for his medical treatment and this time too he was there for the same purpose.
Answering a question about corruption and other allegations being levelled by the opposition, Mr Tareen said he was not obliged to respond to the opposition’s allegation as it continued to point an accusing finger at its opponents. “I have nothing to hide. My business is clean and transparent and there are no worries,” he said.
Mr Tareen, however, did not say a word about joining the inquiry initiated by the Federal Investigation Agency into the sugar scam. The FIA had sought a reply from Mr Tareen and summoned him for investigation.
Initially, he had rejected the summons. Later, he asked the agency for more time to respond to its queries. He had stated that he would appear before the FIA once he returned to Pakistan after his treatment in the United Kingdom.
The FIA had sought details of Mr Tareen’s assets in Pakistan and abroad, his bank transactions, especially transfer of money abroad, bank accounts of his family members and his employees and sugar-related transactions of his firm JDW.
The estranged PTI leader’s departure in June this year had also prompted backlash from the opposition. PML-N leaders had accused Prime Minister Khan of having allowed Jahangir Tareen to leave the country and of pursuing “selective accountability”.
When the sugar inquiry report was made public on the instructions of the prime minister, he had himself stated that Mr Tareen would come clean of the charges he was facing in the scam.
Ali Tareen has returned at a time when his cricket team “Multan Sultan” is leading the point-table of the Pakistan Super League.
Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2020