LAHORE: PTI’s estranged leader Jahangir Tareen talks to journalists outside the judicial complex on Monday.—PPI
LAHORE: PTI’s estranged leader Jahangir Tareen talks to journalists outside the judicial complex on Monday.—PPI

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s estranged leader Jahangir Khan Tareen on Monday denied having contacts with the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) or Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

The sugar mogul said he did not have any contact with any opposition party when he was asked about PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz’s claim that the Tareen group had been in contact with her party.

He was talking to the media outside the judicial complex after his appearance before a special court for banking offence and a sessions court for his pre-arrest bail in three FIRs registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in wake of the sugar scam inquiry report.

Several parliamentarians of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) accompanied the former PTI secretary general.

Mr Tareen said the recent meeting of his friends with Prime Minister Imran Khan was held in a pleasant atmosphere and the latter gave them assurance with regard to the cases in order to remove their reservations.

The PM tasked Senator Barrister Syed Ali Zafar with examining the matter from all sides, he said, while expressing the hope that Mr Zafar being a seasoned corporate lawyer would present a ‘fair report’ to the prime minister.

Mr Tareen reiterated that the “allegations of money laundering” were baseless as there was no secret or black funding. “My case is simply of business affairs and does not fall within the domain of the FIA,” he said.

He said he had never avoided FIA’s probe and had furnished millions of documents to the investigators. “We want a thorough and fair investigation so that people could celebrate our triumph with pride,” he added.

Asked about recent critical remarks of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi about his group, Mr Tareen said he did want to comment on it. “It does not suit us to respond to such low-level remarks,” he added.

In reply to a query about the support of his group [of around 30 lawmakers] to the government in the upcoming budget, the PTI’s estranged leader said the issue had not been discussed till then.

Earlier, the courts extended the bail of Mr Tareen and his son, Ali Tareen, till May 19.

The investigating officer told Additional District and Sessions Judge Hamid Hussain that statements of the co-suspects were yet to be recorded and some record from banks was also awaited.

The judge expressed dismay over the FIA for not submitting the sugar inquiry report and directed the IO to submit the same at the next hearing without fail.

Before the special court for banking offence, the counsel for Mr Tareen, Salman Safdar, argued that the FIR registered by the FIA carried many legal faults. He also questioned the FIA jurisdiction to deal with the matter.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

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