LAHORE: Talk of replacing the Punjab’s chief executive is becoming louder even within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) due to the rising concern over Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s ‘failure’ in handling the affairs of the most important province.
Though none of the party leaders would publicly comment against the Punjab set-up, they would admit in background interviews that their government is failing in running the province. “Yes, we’re dissatisfied with the so far performance of Mr Buzdar and a majority within the PTI wants him to be replaced with a better and active political figure but the question is: How?” a senior leader of the ruling party confided to Dawn.
“Since there are a number of pressure groups within the party itself and ambitions of the allies [the PML-Q] are no more hidden, there seems no way out to bring the desired change,” he said.
Requesting anonymity, the PTI leader said there were various groups of party leaders like ex-secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen, Punjab governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, former provincial minister Abdul Aleem Khan and Punjab Information Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal.
In this situation, he said it was very difficult to bring all the groups on one page and build consensus on a single name for the coveted post.
Similarly, the PML-Q clearly stated on several occasions that it would reconsider its support to the PTI government in Punjab if the incumbent chief minister was replaced.
A source in the PTI’s core committee, which met in Islamabad on Sunday and discussed administrative failures in Punjab, said the issue had been raised in top party circles a couple of times. But, he added, such meetings and discussions were chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan just to have a feeling of the undercurrents in the party cadre but not for taking decisions. “The decisions are taken solely by Imran Khan whether these are discussed in the core committee or central executive committee or not,” he explained.
Sources said PM Khan met CM Buzdar after the core committee meeting in Islamabad. While no official word on the meeting was released to the media, some TV channels reported that the PM expressed his annoyance over his ‘poor governance in Punjab’ and asked him to deliver even if he had to change any bureaucrat.
A provincial leader, however, claimed that this time some ministers would be shown the door while portfolios of the powerful ones would be changed if not removed altogether from the cabinet.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2019