ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Senator and former finance minister Shaukat Tarin has tendered his resignation to Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, who has accepted it.
According to the Senate Secretariat, Shaukat Tarin has resigned from the Senate seat and Sadiq Sanjrani has accepted his resignation from the Senate.
The Senate Secretariat statement said the Senate chairman has arrived in Dubai from Iraq where Shaukat Tarin met him. Shaukat Tareen submitted his resignation to the Senate chairman in the meeting.
Meanwhile, sources said Tarin had tendered resignation from Senate and quit Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as well as politics purportedly to avoid arrest.
Well-placed sources said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has completed the process for his arrest through issuance of his red warrants if he fails to join the investigations.
When contacted on Sunday evening, Federal Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti showed ignorance about any development. When asked if the case against the former finance minister will be dropped now, he replied, “Frankly I have no idea.”
Tarin was the last of four finance ministers of the PTI government and had tried to block the deal with the IMF.
The FIA’s Cyber Crime reporting centre had registered an FIR against him in February on charges of sedition for allegedly stalling talks with the IMF.
In August last year, a couple of audio leaks had surfaced in which a man believed to be Tarin was heard guiding KPK and Punjab finance ministers from PTI to tell the coalition government in the Centre and the IMF that they would not be able to commit to a provincial budget surplus in the light of monsoon floods, which wreaked havoc across the country.
In a notice issued to Tarin in the following month, the FIA said an inquiry was initiated against his alleged role on the basis of the audio leak.
The sources said that the agency, which completed a preliminary inquiry into Tarin’s audio leaks, saw his leaked conversations as an “attempt to disrupt” the IMF loan programme and funds, thereby causing harm to national interest.
It had subsequently approached the government with the request to initiate legal proceedings against the ex-finance czar. The FIA was permitted to arrest him. The FIR stated that Tarin with “malafide intentions and ulterior motives” induced sitting provincial finance ministers of Punjab Mohsin Leghari and KP Taimur Jhagra.
The two phone call audio clips of the former finance minister with Leghari and Jhagra had gone viral. “Shaukat Tarin clearly asked the finance ministers to write letters stating that their respective ministries would not return the surplus budget to the federal government, which would critically affect the then ongoing deals between the government of Pakistan and IMF regarding the economic situation of the state,” the complaint stated.
Tarin was summoned and questioned regarding the alleged clips during an inquiry but he failed to provide satisfactory answers. “This implied that the accused is hiding facts regarding the instant matter and lying about his intentions and motive behind the alleged conversation.”
“Such mischievous acts may disrupt public tranquility and create an ill-will among pillars of the state. It is likely to cause a sense of fear, alarm and intimidation to every citizen of the state due to the economic situation of Pakistan.”
Thus, the alleged conversation was considered an act of sedition against the state, the FIR said. It added that a case under Section 20 (Malicious code) of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and sections 124-A (Sedition) and 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) had been registered against Tarin.
Tarin, however, said the audio was ‘tampered’. It was a crime to tap someone’s conversation, which was leaked after being tampered, he added.
Shaukat Tarin is in Dubai and he didn’t respond to calls when approached Sunday evening to ascertain his views.