LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s direction to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to monitor his cabinet members has put the latter on his toes to activate provincial ministers to deliver in the face of opposition’s concerns that there is governance collapse and public services are scarcely available.
The prime minister had issued the instruction not only to the Punjab chief minister but his counterpart in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well and said he would replace the ministers in the provinces as he did in the federal cabinet.
Amidst the replacement of the federal ministers, sources say Chief Minister Usman Buzdar himself has apprehensions about losing his own position owing to mounting pressure in the absence of good governance and bureaucracy’s disregard to deliver.
The recent reshuffle in the bureaucracy in Punjab also replaced senior bureaucrats from key positions ahead of PTI government’s first budget. However, the chief minister could not block the reversal of transfers directed by other power centres in the province.
As the rumours of CM Usman Buzdar’s replacement started getting strong, chief minister’s spokesman Dr Shahbaz Gill personally talked to the prime minister for ‘clarification’ on Friday evening.
After speaking to the prime minister and with his permission, Dr Gill tweeted: “I want to explain that there is no consideration of replacing the Punjab or the KP chief minister. Both are enjoying full confidence of the prime minister.”
As the sword is seemingly hanging on the low performing ministers, sources say the chief minister has also asked his team to consolidate reports about ministers’ performance for conveying to the prime minister who had hinted that he would also go for replacing ministers in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
As the media persons asked Punjab Information Minister Samsam Bukhari to comment on the rumours of provincial ministers’ removal or replacement, he categorically said there was nothing of the sort. He said the chief minister was monitoring ministers’ performance through his yardstick. “Every minister’s performance will be examined and no one will be spared irrespective of any link,” he said.
“The chief minister has the powers to bring about changes to his team but there is no such drastic move at hand,” the information minister said.
Answering another question, Mr Bukhari said, “The chief minister gets reports of ministers’ performance from different sources and surely shares these with the prime minister”. He also said it was the prerogative of the prime minister and the chief minister to have teams of their choice.
Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2019