Ex-Pak finance minister Shaukat Tarin to be arrested for derailing bailout talks with IMF

Islamabad | Updated: 13 February, 2023 1:32 pm IST
Ex-Finance Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Tarin to be arrested for stalling talks with IMF.
Ex-Finance Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Tarin to be arrested for stalling talks with IMF.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday blamed the previous PTI-led government for derailing talks with the International Monetary Fund to bail the country out of its economic breakdown.

After the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) of Pakistan carried out a preliminary investigation into the leaked audio tapes of former finance minister Shaukat Tarin where he can be heard making attempts to disrupt the IMF loan programmes and funds, thereby causing harm to the national interest.

The audio leak that surfaced in August last year, in which a man purportedly Ex FM Tarin can be heard guiding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab finance ministers, belonging to the PTI, to tell the PDM coalition government at the Centre and the IMF that they would not be able to commit to a provincial budget surplus in light of the monsoon floods that wrought havoc across Pakistan.

Earlier, in a letter written to the interior ministry of Pakistan, FIA’s cybercrime zone had sought the government’s permission for a special complaint under Section 196 (prosecution for offences against the state) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for obtaining cognizance of offences under Section 124-A (sedition) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) in an inquiry pertaining to audio leaks pending against Tarin.

FIA has sought approval from the interior ministry of Pakistan to initiate legal proceedings against Tarin, leading to his arrest. Pak interior minister has given his nod for Tarin’s arrest to the FIA. “An inquiry against Shaukat Tarin has been completed and the government has allowed the FIA to arrest him,” Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Sunday said while addressing a news conference in Karachi.

The interior minister squarely blamed Ex-PM Imran Khan for the current economic instability prevailing in the country. He said that since his ouster as PM last year Imran has been running a campaign to create political and economical instability in the country.

Terming Shaukat Tarin as an innocent man, who was misled by Imran he stated “For this purpose, he (Imran) misled an innocent man like Shaukat Tarin. He (Tarin) fell into his trap and committed an act which could have caused immense damage to the country.” He further added that Tarin should be punished for sabotaging the IMF deal so that no one could dare to commit such a crime in the future.

Sanaullah also added that investigating agencies are probing PTI Chairman Khan and pretty soon he will be arrested too. “There is evidence against Imran and after the courts decide, he might be behind bars very soon,” he claimed.

The talks between the IMF and Pakistan government failed to yield any positive results after the IMF team left Islamabad on the 9th of this month without reaching any concrete agreement on the IMF bailout. Both the previous and current political dispensation have been employing hardball tactics against the IMF and jeopardized the talks subsequently.

The current Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had stated that the IMF cannot dictate terms to Pakistan on fund management. In an interview given to a TV channel in December last year, Dar said “I would not beg the IMF for providing loans to Pakistan and he also told the IMF officials that you cannot dictate; if the money doesn’t come in, we will manage”.

Two months later Dar was seen desperately trying to convince the IMF to release the money. Despite his desperate attempts, the talks with the IMF failed. According to sources, in a bid to hide their failure, the government is putting the blame squarely on the PTI-led government. Tarin’s probable arrest is being termed as a case of pure political vendetta towards PTI according to credible sources in Pakistan.

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