ISLAMABAD: The violent lawyers’ protest in Lahore forced Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to abruptly end his planned meeting with the ruling party MNAs from the province at the Parliament House here on Wednesday.
The chief minister along with senior police and government officials came to the committee room only to inform the waiting MNAs that he was rushing to Lahore after getting reports about the incident outside the Punjab Institute of Cardiology.
Talking to Dawn, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA from Hafizabad Chaudhry Shaukat Ali Bhatti said the chief minister had told them that he would try to convene the meeting again before Dec 20 — the day the National Assembly is expected to be prorogued.
When asked about the purpose of the meeting, Mr Bhatti said the MNAs wanted to talk to the chief minister about development works in their respective constituencies.
Most in ruling party are said to be dissatisfied with governance and the state of affairs in Punjab
He said the MNAs also wanted to talk about development funds which were available to the MPAs, but not to the MNAs.
The chief minister had arranged the meeting with the party legislators on the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan, amid rising concerns within the ruling party over Mr Buzdar’s ‘failure’ to handle the affairs of the most important province.
Although the party leaders do not publicly comment against the Punjab set-up, in their private conversations they admit that there are concerns within the party ranks about the performance of Mr Buzdar and a majority within the PTI even wants him to be replaced.
The performance of the Punjab chief minister and his “administrative failures” also reportedly came under scrutiny at a recent meeting of the PTI’s core committee presided over by PM Khan at his Banigala residence.
Mr Khan met Mr Buzdar after the core committee meeting.
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.
Talking to Dawn, a key federal minister on condition of anonymity claimed that a majority in the PTI was dissatisfied with the governance and the state of affairs in Punjab.
The minister seemed to be so much annoyed with Mr Buzdar that when he was asked if he attended the meeting at the Parliament House, he simply replied that he was not even interested in meeting the chief minister.
“It seems that the South Punjab people are now avenging the people of the rest of the province for the injustices committed with them in the past,” the minister said while mocking the performance of Mr Buzdar, who belongs to Dera Ghazi Khan.
The rumours of Mr Buzdar’s replacement started doing the rounds in the wake of saga involving ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s departure to London for medical treatment.
However, during his last visit to Lahore on Nov 30, Prime Minister Imran Khan once again made it clear that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar would complete his term.
During one of the meetings with members of the Punjab cabinet and MPAs at the CM Secretariat, PM Khan had reportedly said he knew everyone sitting in the meeting wanted to become the chief minister, but he would continue standing by Mr Buzdar.
“Those aspiring to replace Mr Buzdar should wait for the next four years,” the prime minister had been quoted as saying in the meeting.
Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2019