LAHORE: Amid reports that some elements in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) are ‘conspiring’ against Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, its important coalition partner Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) has again put its weight behind the ‘struggling’ chief executive of the province.
PML-Q senior leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi called on Buzdar here on Thursday and reaffirmed his party’s support to him.
“We are with you and will remain so,” Mr Elahi told Mr Buzdar. He said the coalition government would continue serving the people of the province together and Buzdar was performing well.
Mr Elahi was critical of Shahbaz Sharif’s 10-year rule in Punjab in which he said the younger Sharif had rendered the province bankrupt. “I had left the province in surplus while Shahbaz Sharif not only made it bankrupt but also stopped all development projects in his bias against me,” the speaker said. The PML-Q has 10 members in the Punjab Assembly, with two of them members of the Buzdar cabinet.
Earlier, the PML-Q had warned that it might consider parting ways with the government had he (Buzdar) was removed.
There have been reports that some elements in the PTI are conspiring against Mr Buzdar and want Prime Minister Imran Khan to replace him with a ‘right person’ so that the province could be run smoothly.
Different ‘power centres’ in the PTI are making hue and cry either for not getting due position or being ignored altogether. In spite of spending huge sum of money for party’s events in the past they are not happy to have a ‘right position’ in the province. A few months ago, PM Khan had clipped the wings of Governor Chaudhry Sarwar Khan on complaints of his ‘constant intervention’ in the affairs of the Usman Buzdar administration.
Mr Buzdar’s spokesperson Shahbaz Gill said in a tweet on Thursday that there were some “four to five” people (in the party) who were conspiring despite Imran Khan’s order (not to go against Buzdar). “They are disobeying Khan sahib,” he said.
Responding to PTI activist Asma Khan’s tweet, Mr Gill said he had not asked anyone to leave the party if they were not against Khan’s decision (to appoint Buzdar as CM). “I only said that they should respect Mr Khan’s decision in this regard,” he said.
Asma Khan said she had not spoken against Buzdar believing Khan’s words that “all will be well with the passage of time” and now Gill was asking the criticis of Buzdar to leave the party. “You are tendering apologies to a female anchor but threatening us…its pity,” she said.
Buzdar faced a fresh wave of criticism following a number of police torture cases surfaced in different parts of the province and his administration appeared helpless to the address the issue. Despite a year in office, Mr Buzdar is still struggling to learn as how to run the most populated province smoothly. His capacity issues remain a major question but Prime Minister Imran Khan calls him “(cricketer) Wasim Akram plus”.
Opposition PML-N and PPP chide PM Khan for refusing to give a ‘second thought’ to replace Buzdar for the good of the people of the province. It says Punjab ‘deserves’ a better chief executive.
Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2019