Saturday Apr 17, 2021
Several PTI lawmakers offered to quit the assemblies in support of party stalwart Jahangir Tareen, during a meeting held at his Lahore residence on Saturday.
Sources privy to the meeting informed Geo News that more than 30 members of both the national and provincial assemblies attended the huddle and discussed the roadmap ahead for the party, with a majority of them offering to resign.
According to the sources, the offer of resignations was not unanimously agreed upon by all lawmakers as a measure suited for the time being.
The lawmakers were, however, of the opinion that if "injustices" against Tareen continue, then the option of resignations from the assemblies must be exercised.
The sources said that the lawmakers also decided to contact others from the party.
They added that another meeting has been called on April 21 at the same venue to discuss Prime Minister Imran Khan's silence over a letter sent by party members expressing dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, as well as Tareen's court summonings.
In the next meeting, it is expected that more PTI lawmakers will be in attendance, said the sources.
Today's meeting follows one on April 9, when Tareen had invited lawmakers to dinner at his house.
According to sources within House Tareen, more than 29 members of the national and provincial assemblies attended the gathering. Among them, eight were from the National Assembly, two were provincial ministers, four were provincial advisors and 21 were members of the Punjab Assembly.
The gathering had taken place the same day reports surfaced of 36 bank accounts belonging to the PTI stalwart, his son and his wife being frozen.
The move was made at the request of the Federal Investigation Agency, sources said.
The FIA has been tasked with probing the sugar crisis and is looking into the JDW Sugar Mills owned by Jahangir Tareen.
PTI MNA Raja Riaz had earlier in the day demanded a transparent probe into the sugar scandal for which Tareen is being investigated, among other sugar mill owners.
Riaz had accompanied Tareen to an appearance at an accountability court, and while speaking to the media, said that he appeals to the prime minister for justice to be served.
He claimed there are 40 members of the National Assembly who have the same appeal.
Riaz went on to plead to the prime minister to not let things exacerbate. "If we do not see justice being served, we will react accordingly," he said.
The MNA said that right now the lawmakers are demanding justice under the umbrella of the PTI. Saying that it is the "last time" that the request is being made, Riaz added that in the event justice is not ensured, "we will be forced to make a decision".
Newly sworn in Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz, when asked about the offer of resignations made by PTI lawmakers, said that "there is no personal enmity" that the party has with Tareen.
"We have set out on an agenda. If there was this element, in this move, of the law and justice being compromised, then that would be totally unacceptable," he remarked.
Faraz added that while some members of the PTI may have sympathies with Tareen, but their foremost affiliation is with Imran Khan and the party's ideology.
"They may try to force some sort of compromise but the only course of action to take place will be that under the rule of law, and one that is before everyone," said the minister.