Pro-Tareen lawmakers meet PM Imran, assured of 'justice' in sugar probe: Raja Riaz

Published April 27, 2021
PTI MNA Raja Riaz speaks to reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI MNA Raja Riaz speaks to reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

A group of lawmakers backing the estranged leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Jahangir Khan Tareen on Tuesday met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and shared their concerns regarding the investigation against the sugar baron.

Speaking to reporters after their meeting in Islamabad, PTI MNA from Faislabad Raja Riaz said it was held in a "very cordial" atmosphere and that the premier had assured them that justice will be done "in every condition".

He said the prime minister had sought time to look into their concerns that Tareen was being victimised, promising that "all requirements of justice will be met".

Answering a question, Riaz said he had also apprised Prime Minister Imran of their reservations regarding the role of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar in the sugar scam probe.

"He (Imran) said he is personally monitoring the case and assured us that he would not allow injustice to be done with anyone," he added.

The lawmaker clarified that the premier had "not acknowledged" that any injustice had been done as part of the investigation, but promised to look into their concerns. No timeframe has been given regarding addressing the reservations, Riaz said.

"We have full confidence in our kaptaan and our prime minister that we will be given justice," he added.

Another lawmaker part of the ‘rebel’ PTI group, MPA Nazir Ahmad Chohan, said they had asked the prime minister to separate Akbar from the probe and form a "neutral team" to look into Tareen's case. He added that Imran had promised to personally monitor the matter and assured them of justice.

Tareen’s sympathisers in the Punjab Assembly and National Assembly had emerged after he was booked in different cases and summoned to appear before the banking and sessions courts. Riaz, an outspoken member of the Tareen camp, had earlier demanded that the prime minister should give them time so that they could explain to him their concerns as they believed that Tareen was being victimised.

Riaz had asked the premier to change his approach, saying they would otherwise be forced to take a step on their own. “We are making last humble request in the ‘Riasat-i-Madina’ that we want nothing but justice,” he had said.

Tareen, the sugar mogul, has claimed that the allegations in the FIRs lodged against him were not criminal in nature and fell within the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. He said all of his businesses had been inspected during the previous PML-N government and nothing wrong had been detected by investigators.

Ahead of today's meeting, which came after the more than 30 lawmakers in the Tareen camp wrote to Prime Minister Imran requesting a meeting, the government while apparently giving in to the demand of the lawmakers removed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officer heading the investigation against Tareen and his son.

“The sugar scam inquiry team head, FIA Director Lahore Mohammad Rizwan, has been removed from the investigation with immediate effect,” a source in the information ministry told Dawn on Monday. He said Rizwan's removal was the main demand of former PTI secretary general Tareen and the lawmakers who are with him.

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