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ISLAMABAD:
Estranged Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Jahangir Tareen launched a group of like-minded lawmakers in the lower house of parliament as well as the Punjab Assembly at a dinner he hosted for his supporters, Express News reported late on Tuesday.

According to the report, Raja Riaz will be the parliamentary leader of the Jahangir Tareen Like-minded group in the National Assembly, while Saeed Akbar Nawani will be the parliamentary leader in the Punjab Assembly.

Noman Langarial, one of the supporters of Tareen, who attended the dinner, said that 31 lawmakers attended the event. Member of the Punjab Assembly (MPA) Salman Naeem said during the dinner that supporters of Tareen decided to formally launch their own group.

“Jahangir Tareen is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday (today). What happened to Tareen is wrong,” Langarial said, referring to charges against the PTI leader in the sugar scandal. “That's why we are supporting him [Tareen],” he said. “We have confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan but we agree on our agenda,” he added.

MPA Naeem said that like-minded members have decided to hold their power show in the Punjab Assembly on Friday.

Last month, talking to a delegation of some pro-Tareen lawmakers, Prime Minister Imran Khan had categorically said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would not be influenced to give relief to the disgruntled leader in the sugar scam probe but he would personally look into the matter to avoid any political victimisation in the case.

The head of the MNAs’ delegation, Riaz, had told the media after attending the meeting that the prime minister had assured them that he would personally look into the case and ensure that no injustice was meted out to anyone.

The prime minister formed a one-man committee comprising his confidant, Senator Syed Ali Zafar, to ascertain whether the delegation’s concerns that some people in the government and the PTI were politically victimising Jahangir Tareen were genuine.

Tareen had said that he was ready to face any inquiry but to drag his son into the case was unjustified.

The sugar baron had claimed the PML-N had also investigated his businesses during its tenure but even it had not turned a civil case into a criminal one against him.

The bail of both Tareen and his son had already been extended till May by an additional sessions judge in Lahore. Extending their interim bail, the court ordered the FIA to complete its investigation as soon as possible and submit the report.

According to their lawyer, there are three FIRs against Tareen and his son while the FIA had registered only two cases after a period of four-and-a-half months.

According to the FIRs dated March 22, two separate cases were registered under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating of public shareholders) and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), read with sections 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, against Tareen and his son.

The FIA, in the first FIR, had stated that Tareen had fraudulently misappropriated the shareholders’ money after his company, JDW Group, transferred Rs3.14 billion to an associated private company identified as Farooqi Pulp Private Limited.

The FIR had stated that the private company was owned by his sons and close relatives. Additionally, it had said that Tareen, his son and another family member had purchased dollars from the open market in Lahore in a “structured manner”.

The second FIR had said that “voluminous withdrawals amounting to at least Rs2.2 billion were fraudulently and dishonestly made through a trusted cash rider”, and large amounts were deposited into the personal and business accounts of Tareen and his family members.

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