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As Imran Khan’s fate hangs in balance all eyes are on Pakistan’s kingmaker billionaire Jahangir Tareen

Jahangir Khan Tareen. (File photo)

Jahangir Khan Tareen, one of the richest persons in Pakistan, is in the news these days as it is believed that he will decide the future of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The latest news about Imran Khan’s “estranged” friend, Tareen is that he flew to London in his own aircraft on Saturday for a “health” check-up but insiders say he has gone to meet former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss the opposition’s no-confidence move against Imran Khan and his government.  

“Tareen has a block of 31 parliamentarians in the Pakistan National Assembly which is known as Forward Block. So far, these members have been voting in favour of Imran Khan but let’s see what happens this time. If they decide to vote for a no-confidence motion, Khan is gone,” says an insider. 

But who is Jehangir Tareen? Is he really a king maker? 

According to media reports, Jahangir Tareen is among the top three richest politicians of Pakistan who has assets worth 80 billion Pakistani rupees and thousands of acres of agricultural land. He owns some of the biggest sugar mills of the country and is thus known as the sugar baron of Pakistan. Apart from this Tareen owns mines and breweries as well.

Tehreen has been a member of Pakistan National Assembly thrice between 2002 and 2017. He was also the Minister of Industries in the cabinet of former PM Shakat Aziz before he joined Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and soon became his closest friend.

In an interview with Dawn last year after the “break-up” with Imran Khan, Tahreen “admitted” that he was the second-most powerful person in Imran Khan’s party and his government.

In fact after the 2018 elections, It was Tahreen who got the required numbers of support from independents and allies to support Imran Khan to form his government and all was done with the approval of the powerful Pakistani military establishment.

Jahangir Tahreen’s closeness to the establishment is a well known fact in Pakistan. On their nudge he played an important role in getting numbers whenever Khan’s government faced a crisis.

“Tareen’s role in the wooing of independent MNAs and MPAs is hardly a secret. Until last year,Tahreen was the main problem-solver, firefighter and political dealmaker. In fact, he was long believed to have been the party’s kingmaker and bankroller,” says the report published in Dawn.

In 2020, when Tareen's name came up in the money laundering scam and sugar crisis, the relation between Khan and Tareen turned sour, the billionaire blamed close advisors of Khan for this.

“An inquiry against me, relating to the sugar crisis, has been going on for the last 12 months. I am asking for justice from PTI. I am a friend, but I am being pushed towards enmity,” he told the media. 

Since then Khan and Tareen are not on talking terms. Though Tareen did not leave the party, he formed a new group of “like-minded” 30 plus members in the National Assembly. 

Last year in December, another disgruntled close aide of Imran Khan had accused Khan of being the most dishonest person. He claimed that Pakistani Jahangir Khan Tareen used to bear expenses of up to Rs. 30 lakh monthly for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s luxurious bungalow Bani Gala in Islamabad. 

Also Read : Pak tycoon paid Imran Khan Rs.50 lakh every month to run his household, says former judge

Tareen reportedly denied but said that he delivered the results PM Khan desired. 

Now there are reports that Khan has been trying to “reconnect” with his friend turned foe to get the desired results. But Tareen, as he told the insider that his plane has taken off and it could go in any direction even towards the opposition. 

Also Read : Pakistan opposition ready to move no-trust vote to oust Imran Khan as long march kicks off from Karachi