LAHORE: Accusing Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry of indulging in “attention-seeking histrionics”, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan reminded on Friday his party colleague to “mind his own business”.
Mr Chohan settled the score with Mr Chaudhry in a news channel talk show when the host asked him to comment on Mr Chaudhry’s consistent criticism of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the Punjab government for their failure to deliver.
The federal minister initiated his war on the Punjab government from the PTI’s core committee meeting a few days back for not offering Finance Commission Award shares to districts. He also alleged that the Punjab government had utilised only Rs77 billion, of Rs350 billion, allocated for development projects. Prime Minister Imran Khan had later directed the provincial government to release the award.
Mr Chaudhry in his tweet on Jan 17 also reproved the availability of discretionary funds to chief ministers and went on saying that such funds were “against public interest” and a violation of Article 140-A of the Constitution.
He had also went on saying in his tweet chief ministers considered themselves as "kings", adding that doling out public funds as discretion was against the public interest. Later, he said in a talk show that Mr Buzdar should himself quit the post.
Mr Buzdar on Friday held a special meeting and discussed provincial finance commission, progress on the annual development programme and other subjects. On the public front, his spokesperson Mr Chohan launched an impassioned attack on Mr Chaudhry and asked to stop trying to play as hero.
Stating that Mr Chaudhry had violated the party discipline by openly criticizing the Punjab chief minister, Mr Chohan said such histrionics troubled government as well as the state. “But making such statements is his (Fawad Chaudhry) habit and old habits die hard,” he commented.
The talk show host, however, did not remind Mr Chohan of violating the discipline by openly criticizing the colleague.
The Punjab information minister said it was not Chaudhry’s prerogative to give opinions on whether Mr Buzdar should stay or go. “Only PM Imran Khan has the prerogative to decide whether Buzdar should stay as chief minister or go,” he said and added, “The Punjab cabinet and treasury benches are completely satisfied with Mr Buzdar’s performance.”
Mr Chohan said that he was still restraining himself otherwise he could give him (Fawad) befitting response because he was bound by his party discipline. Advising Fawad mind his own business, Mr Chohan said the federal science and technology minister should ensure Pakistan become a leader in space. He urged Mr Chaudhry to work on developing Ghauri-II or a Ghauri-III for space.
When contacted to comment on the Punjab information minister’s assertions, federal minister Fawad Chaudhry opted to stay mum.
Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2020