LAHORE: With Jahangir Khan Tareen and Governor Chaudhry Sarwar vying for a significant role in Punjab, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday ruled out any change in the office of the chief minister of the largest province — at least for the moment.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Mr Tareen ruled out the possibility of changing Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in the wake of rumours doing the rounds for the past few days.
Against this backdrop, the PTI parliamentary party meeting on Monday reposed its complete trust in the leadership of Usman Buzdar. “We will be standing beside you in the journey of public service,” various party legislators said in unison and added Mr Buzdar had proved to be a good chief minister, who listened to their issues with patience.
“We are lucky to have a chief minister like Buzdar,” a party MPA remarked.
While the chief minister gained trust of his party men, the cracks within the PTI continue appearing as Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and ‘his rival’ Jahangir Khan Tareen spent a busy day in Lahore to muster support for their assertive role in running the province.
Governor Sarwar held a meeting with the chief minister as well as Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid MNA Chaudhry Moonis Elahi besides federal education minister Shafqat Mahmood and party’s additional general secretary Ejaz Chaudhry discussing political scene ahead of his proposed meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday (today) to strengthen control in Punjab.
The opposition is also building pressure in the wake of economic stress and governance blues being faced by people at large.
Mr Tareen is also holding meetings with PTI ministers, legislators, leaders as well as bureaucracy to collect his cards to play in Punjab, where different power centres are already at work. Mr Tareen had also reversed the transfer of his favourite bureaucrats, who were transferred in a spate of reshuffle in the bureaucracy.
Jittery over the assertions that Mr Tareen is taking control in Punjab, Governor Sarwar found himself compelled to say “Asien aithey Aaloo Choolay vaichan nahin aae” (We are not here to sell chickpea curry with potatoes), adding that difference of opinion always exists in every political party.
Since Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Governor Sarwar are against the Jahangir Tareen group for long, Mr Qureshi at a press conference in Governor’s House early this month had also chided Mr Tareen for his presence in official meetings and termed it a contempt of court.
Mr Tareen reacted saying he had stood by Imran Khan’s side through thick and thin and would continue to do so till his last breath. “What others may say for their own strange reasons does not concern me,” he had said without naming Mr Qureshi.
In a strange move, Mr Tareen appeared at Lahore Zoo alongside CM Buzdar, who had gone to attend a special ceremony on the arrival of tigers and cheetahs, gifted by prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoom.
As reporters asked Mr Tareen whether Mr Sarwar was being stripped off his governorship, “I can only laugh at this question,” he responded.
While commenting on the governor’s remarks about Mr Tareen, the chief minister rebuffed the comments as “mere joking” in a lighter vein.
Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2019