Estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen said Wednesday that his supporters had decided to form a separate group after the Punjab government initiated “revenge actions” against his supporters.
Tareen, however, quickly denied reports he was 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 as far as, what he referred to as the “fake” FIR against him, adding that the pro-Tareen group had met the prime minister.
Speaking about the inquiry into his allegations led by Barrister 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 soon,” he said.
The PTI leader said there was “another issue” that needed to be addressed.
“Khan sahab is an honourable man and I believe he is 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.
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.
Answering 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.