ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed on Wednesday claimed that the estranged Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Khan Tareen along with his group will vote for Imran Khan in passage of budget.
Shaikh Rashid’s remarks came in response of Jahangir Tareen’s statement that the group of lawmakers loyal to him would "raise their voice" against the alleged vengeful actions of the Punjab government being taken against them.
Tareen, however, quickly denied forming a forward bloc in the party. "We were part of the PTI, we are part of the PTI and we will continue to remain part of the PTI," he announced outside the banking court where he had appeared for a hearing.
Tareen was accompanied by his supporters, who include Punjab government ministers and other lawmakers of the PTI. "There is no investigation against me going on relating to the sugar scandal," he said, adding that the three FIRs registered against him were not filed in any sugar inquiry.
Tareen said his "supporters" were standing with him against what he referred to as the "fake" FIR in which he had been booked. Speaking about the inquiry into his allegations led by Syed Ali Zafar, Tareen said he had met him and had given a detailed explanation to him as well.
"I am confident the report will be given to the prime minister as well," he said. The PTI leader said there was "another issue" that needed to be addressed. "Khan Sahab is an honourable man and I believe heis just,” said Tareen. “However, the Punjab government has started taking vendetta against members of my group,” he added.
He accused the Punjab government of transferring officers of the ministers that were loyal to Tareen, “left, right and centre”, and were putting pressure on them. The estranged PTI leader said the pro-Tareen group had, as a result, decided to “raise their voices against this in the Punjab Assembly”.
Tareen said members of his group had decided to nominate MPA Saeed Akbar Niwani to “lead the discussions” against the alleged revenge tactics of the Punjab government, in the assembly.
He blamed the media for making a huge deal about the news. “We are not making a forward bloc,” he said. “We are a part of the PTI and will remain a part of it. This party, God willing, will not disintegrate,” he added.
He urged the Punjab government to “stop with their actions”, adding that the lawmakers who are part of the Tareen group are “your MPAs and you (Buzdar) became the chief minister by their votes”.
In response to a question, Tareen said the Punjab government had taken revenge from members of his group in other matters as well but he would rather not go into details of it.
To another question, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar should not seek a vote of confidence after his dissident group emerged. “We haven’t left the party, we are still part of it,” he reiterated.
When a reporter asked Tareen that some lawmakers of his group had said they would not let the Punjab government pass its budget, he responded: “It is every individual’s right to express his or her opinion. The group will take decisions (taking into account everyone’s opinions),” he added.
The PTI leader, before speaking to the media, appeared before a banking court in Lahore for a hearing into the case filed against him. His son, Ali Tareen, was also by his side with their lawyers and supporters.
“Do you want to arrest Jahangir Tareen?” asked the judge. The FIA’s investigation officer kept silent but then responded: “We are reviewing the records.” The court decided to grant bail to the accused and his son till May 31.
Meanwhile, the PTI Senator Faisal Vawda said at a private news channel that the whole Tareen group can be fixed by just by an SHO. He said Jahangir Tareen is a great and successful politician, but he is nothing without Imran Khan. He said even fifty thousand Tareens and Vawdas cannot do anything if Imran Khan is not on their back.
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