Saturday Feb 11, 2023
KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shaukat Tarin said that he had only asked the then-Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid to have his cases heard on merit by jury, The News reported Saturday.
"If heard, the cases would have been finished on merit. Everyone knew I was innocent," said the former finance minister, while taking on a TV programme.
The PTI stalwart was reacting to the accounts attributed to General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa in a newspaper column on February 9. The columnist narrated his interaction with the ex-army chief.
In the column, Gen (retd) Bajwa was quoted as: "We kept trying to convince the prime minister [Imran Khan] against appointing Tarin as finance minister. I told the PM that Tarin, who failed to run his bank, will ruin the economy. The premier disagreed."
"NAB had an Rs8bn case against Tarin. The PM asked us to have these cases dismissed.... and Gen Faiz Hamid got these cases scrapped from NAB," the column cited Gen (retd) Bajwa as stating.
In response to these assertions, Tarin said he could not "believe" that Gen (retd) Bajwa could say such things about him, which were mentioned in the column.
"On March 31, 2022, General sahib had declared me a hero when I finalised the Reko Diq deal," he said.
While sharing the details about his cases, the former finance czar stated: "My case should have been disposed of on merit. Faiz never told me that he would get my case dismissed, nor did I ever ask him for any favour. I had also told the prime minister [Imran Khan] that I would not accept this job [finance ministry] unless my cases are finished."
"The columnist wrote that the former army chief had my NAB (National Accountability Bureau) cases dismissed through [Lt Gen (retd)] Faiz Hamid. The former army chief's comments are against the truth and ridiculous."
Gen (retd) Bajwa's interview with the columnist has been in the headlines since Thursday as it was for the first time that the ex-army chief had spoken publicly about the PTI government and its leadership.
While reacting to the startling column, PTI chief Imran Khan termed it as an endorsement of his stance that his government was "ousted by Bajwa".
"Gen Bajwa told the journalist with much pride how he had our government ousted due to economic policies and other matters," Khan said in an interview with a US media outlet.
PTI chairman went on, "People were already aware of who was behind overthrowing the PTI regime. However, Gen (retd) Bajwa has accepted and clarified that he was behind our government's ouster," adding "that at present, the establishment and the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led (PDM) coalition government are on 'one page'".
In the newspaper column, the journalist wrote that Khan wanted the former COAS to save his government, however, Gen (retd) Bajwa did not do so as he feared that the PTI "was dangerous for the country and if it remains in power, the country would not survive".