LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNAs and MPAs who are standing in solidarity with party’s estranged leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, have formally submitted a request to Prime Minister Imran Khan to give them audience on a single-point agenda – “no victimisation of Mr Tareen”.
The PTI MNAs and MPAs including two provincial ministers who showed their presence at Mr Tareen’s dinner at his residence ahead of his appearance at the sessions court here on Saturday, say their only agenda is to ensure that Mr Tareen should not be maltreated or victimised.
Mr Tareen has himself stated in so many words that he is not afraid of any inquiry but the investigation team is biased and acting on instructions from someone behind the doors.
As many as 31 PTI MNAs and MPAs have signed the request letter sent to the prime minister for a meeting, confirms Punjab Agriculture Minister Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial while speaking to Dawn on Saturday.
Sources in the party say PM Imran Khan has never succumbed to any pressure and adds that a number of PTI MPAs earlier demanded to meet the prime minister to explain their reservations against the Usman Buzdar-led Punjab government. But the prime minister had not given them audience but snubbed them in the parliamentary party meeting at chief minister’s secretariat in December 2019.
“We want neutral and unbiased investigations into the cases lodged against Mr Tareen and there is no other agenda that may charge them for crossing any party line,” he said.
Governor dispels impression of vindictiveness
He says Tareen is their good friend who had helped them in trying times and adds that there is no pressure or any harsh remark coming for them from the government.
Answering a question about this PTI group’s reaction if Mr Tareen is arrested, the provincial minister said it would be quite early to say anything as there was over a week in between the next date of hearing.
The PTI legislators in contact with Mr Tareen say the governance in Punjab is already in shambles and any in-house fight will push the party away to regain power in Punjab during the next elections.
Adviser to Chief Minister Abdul Haye Dasti says the unelected people given important portfolios in the government are damaging the party and the prime minister should realise this situation. He also says Mr Tareen has proved himself as backbone of the party and adds: “The present government will stay strong, if the party will show unified strength.”
Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar says neither Prime Minister Imran Khan nor the PTI government is taking any retaliatory action against Jahangir Tareen. He says the PTI government is fulfilling its promise of “Doo Nahin Aik Pakistan”, where no one is above the law.
The governor says Jahangir Tareen has been a close friend of PM Imran Khan and has held important responsibilities in the party.
“Any retaliatory action or revenge against Tareen by the prime minister or the government is out of question,” he said.
He says provincial ministers Abdul Aleem Khan and Sibtain Khan have also faced inquiries by the NAB and appeared before cases to get relief on merit. He asserts that there is no forward bloc in the PTI government and there is no threat to the federal or Punjab government.
Stating that the government or the PTI is not interfering in court proceedings against Mr Tareen, he says any party member or party legislator going to meet him (Tareen) is not doing anything to destabilize the federal or Punjab government. He says there is no threat to the government and Prime Minister Imran Khan will complete his term.
Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2021