Shaukat Tarin booked for ‘scuttling potential deal with IMF’

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The cyber crime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday registered a case against former federal finance minister Shaukat Tarin.

A case has been registered against Mr Tarin over alleged viral audio on social media under the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PICA) on the complaint of Arshad Mehmood. The case was registered against Mr Tarin under provisions of sedition and provocation.

According to the FIR, in the alleged audio leak that had surfaced on the internet, Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Shaukat Tarin were having a conversation with Mohsin Laghari.

“The surplus budget shouldn’t be returned to the federal government,” Tarin was telling Laghari.

— Sanaullah gives FIA nod to arrest Tarin —

On Sunday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah allowed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to arrest former finance czar Shaukat Tarin after the completion of an inquiry against him in the audio leak case.

On Saturday, the agency requested permission from the interior ministry to initiate legal proceedings against Mr Tarin and his detention, claiming that Shaukat Tarin’s conversation was an attempt to derail the IMF deal and he wanted to harm the country’s security and national interests.

Earlier, audio of PTI leader Shaukat Tarin surfaced in which he allegedly asked the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finance ministers to backtrack from the IMF commitments in order to pressurise the federal government.

In alleged audio, Shaukat Tarin said they needed to backtrack from Rs750 billion commitments and tell the lender that the commitment Punjab made was pre-floods and now the province “cannot honour it”.

The PTI leader told the finance minister to draft a letter and send it to him for vetting so it could be sent to the federal government and later on to the IMF representative in Pakistan.

At Tarin’s request, Laghari asked whether Pakistan would suffer if Punjab withdraws from the deal.

“Well, frankly isn’t the state already suffering because of the way they are treating your chairman [Khan] and everybody else? IMF will definitely ask them: where will you get the money from now?” Tarin responded.

He further said the Centre was sending PTI leaders to jail and filing terrorism case. Tarin said this could not go on further and the party could not bear being “mistreated” and not respond. “We cannot be blackmailed”.

Addressing a presser in Karachi, the interior minister took a jibe at deposed premier Imran Khan, saying that after his ouster he and his stalwarts had been campaigning through false accusations to spread chaos in the country, adding that Shaukat Tarin played a similar role and tried hard to hurt Pakistan under Khan’s guidelines. He added that the FIA had sought permission to arrest him which the government had given and he should be punished for it so no one ever dares to do something like this again

Rana Sanaullah further said that despite its shady tactics, the PTI was unable to derail the IMF agreement.

“Imran Khan is a ‘political terrorist’ but due to our efforts the country would remain “safe from terrorists, including political terrorists like him,” he said.