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Federal Ministers support Jahangir Tareen in row with Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: A numbers of federal ministers and senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader came out in the open in support of senior PTI leader Jahangir Tareen after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureishi raised objections over Tareen’s presence in the cabinet meeting.

In a joint press conference in Lahore along with Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Qureshi has asked Tareen to refrain from attending official meetings.

He said that he had respect for Tareen and he (Tareeen) had rendered invaluable services for the party, but when he sit in the cabinet’s meeting it provided justification to Maryam Aurangzaib to a criticize the government.

The episode brought to the surface the differences between PTI stalwarts Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Jahangir Khan Tareen yet again.

“I would ask my brother [Tareen] to think about this: when you participate in government meetings, it gives [PML-N’s] Marriyum Aurangzeb an opportunity to hold a presser and call into question if this [your presence in meetings] is not contempt of court?”

Tareen was disqualified by the Supreme Court in December 2017 for mis-declaration under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution — the same provision under which former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was held ineligible for life to hold any public office over the Panama Papers leaks case.

Earlier this month, he briefed a federal cabinet meeting which led to a strong reaction from the PML-N. “Isn’t it contempt of court that a person sentenced by the court was sitting in a cabinet meeting?” Aurangzeb had questioned.

Shortly after, Tareen via Twitter took a swipe at Qureshi, saying: “There is only one man in my life whom I consider my leader and to whom I am answerable. His name is Imran Khan.”

“I have stood by his side through thick and thin and will continue to do so till my last breath, IA. What others may say for their own strange reasons does not concern me,” he added, without naming Qureshi.

Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry also came out in support of Jahangir Tareen, praising his services for the party.

“He is one of the biggest reasons for PTI being in power. He joins cabinet meetings on the prime minister’s wish,” said Chaudhry.

PTI leader and cabinet member Faisal Vawda lent support to Tareen, saying that he sits in official meetings on the insistence of cabinet members, including himself.

“He has selflessly done a lot for the party, we respect him as a senior colleague and learn from his expertise. Nobody in the party can dictate us, the prime minister is our leader and we take instructions from him only,” he added.

Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak and Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab and close aide of Imran Khan Aun Chaudhry also lent support to Tareen in the row.