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SARDAR Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar
SARDAR Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar

ISLAMABAD: After a delay in finalising the candidate for the office of Punjab chief minister, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Friday nominated Sardar Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar — a seasoned politician from southern part of the province — for the slot.

The announcement was made by PTI chairman Imran Khan in a video message. “The main reason behind his nomination is that Sardar Usman belongs to the area where there is no water, no electricity and no hospital,” he said, adding that the people of the constituency of Mr Buzdar were living in a way as they were in the Stone Age.

“Usman had quality to know how people of the backward areas and poor live. Therefore I have nominated him for the office of Punjab chief minister,” the PTI chief said, adding that Mr Buzdar was the only member of the Punjab Assembly who did not have electricity in his house.

Tough contest expected between Sardar Usman Buzdar and PML-N’s Hamza Shahbaz in the election scheduled for Sunday

“It is our vision to bring backward areas of the country on a par with developed areas and being an honest chief minister, Usman will come up to the expectations of the party and will implement its vision,” Mr Khan said.

The selection of Mr Buzdar is said to be quite surprising even for PTI leaders as no one was expecting him to be the party’s candidate of the top slot.

The PTI had chosen the candidates for other important positions at the Centre and in the provinces, but the decision on the new chief minister of Punjab was announced after a long delay mainly because of tough competition between the main contenders — Abdul Aleem Khan, Mian Iqbal and Dr Yasmin Rashid.

When contacted, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said Imran Khan was under immense pressure while deciding the party’s candidate for the office of Punjab chief minister.

The PTI chief had earlier announced that he would choose a young man from Punjab for the post.

Usman Buzdar defeated independent candidate Khawaja Muhammad Nizamul Mehmood in the July 25 elections from PP-286 (Dera Ghazi Khan-II) by securing 26,897 votes.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has nominated Hamza Shahbaz, son of party president Shahbaz Sharif, as its candidate for the office of Punjab chief minister. A tough contest is expected between Usman Buzdar and Hamza Shahbaz in the election for the post scheduled for Sunday.

Profile

Usman Buzdar did his masters in political science. He is a protégé of a political family in D.G. Khan and himself a politician for a long time. He was elected Taunsa tehsil nazim during the Musharraf regime. His father Sardar Fateh Mohammad Khan Buzdar, a feudal lord, was elected MPA on a PML-Q ticket in 2008. The senior Buzdar was elected MPA thrice from D.G. Khan.

The Buzdar family ditched the PML-Q after the 2008 general elections and became part of a forward bloc and later joined the PML-N. Usman Buzdar contested the 2013 election from PP-241 (Taunsa Sharif) on a PML-N ticket, but lost to Pakistan Peoples Party’s Nizamul Mehmood.

In April this year, Usman Buzdar had joined Junoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz — a forum formed by some disgruntled PML-N MNAs and MPAs on the sole agenda of creation of a new “South Punjab” province. Usman Buzdar contested the July 25 election for the first time on a PTI ticket.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2018