Case against Tarin

Former finance minister Shaukat Tarin in rough waters

He has been booked by FIA in a sedition case, as it allegedly pertains to his conversation with the then K-P provincial minister reportedly persuading him to derail a proposed deal with the IMF

Though, the issue was done away with in the yester-months, as there wasn’t enough meat in it, it has now surfaced to create ripples at a time when the financial turf is more uneven and slippery

The government claims that it has audio-leaks to substantiate its case which thus falls in the purview of cyber-security crimes

With Tarin likely to be apprehended, the point is whether the altercation falls within the ambit of sedition or not, because the tendency, of late, to book political rivals under the banner of ‘hatching conspiracy’ is proving to be an antithesis of democratic norms of argument in a society

The case is in need of being debated in a harmonious manner, rather than getting hyperbolic

Its salient features go on to narrate a story of how restless and confused the then provincial minister was in persuading the post-PTI coalition government in the Centre, and the IMF, that it would not be able to commit to a budget surplus in light of the monsoon floods

The discord between the then provincial government and federation over fiscal budgeting should not come back to haunt

Peshawar’s going back on its pledge to commit its share in the federal divisible pool was owing to the standoff that it was not in receipt of arrears of around Rs100 billion from Islamabad

That stance coupled with the audio-leak had pushed the accord with the IMF to the cliff

The telephonic conversation in which Tarin is apparently heard making a proactive assumption has landed him in dire straits

This does not entail a case in the sedition ambit, though

It can, however, be an unpleasant methodology adopted by Tarin and his provincial counterpart in all political exigency

Hounding the finance czar at a time when the ruling dispensation is mired in a dialogue with the Fund is not advisable

Reigniting it now will hardly serve any purpose

  Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2023

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Date:15-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link