MUZAFFARGARH: Local parliamentarians belonging to the ruling party as well as the district administration got disappointed when the expected visit of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to the district was cancelled at the eleventh hour on Thursday.
According to local officials, it was for the 16th time that Mr Buzdar’s planned visit to the district has been cancelled since he became Punjab’s chief minister over one and a half years ago.
A highway department official seeking anonymity told Dawn that every time the chief minister’s visit was announced his department had to build two helipads — one for the landing of the CM’s copter and the other as a stand-by arrangement. So, he said, so far the highway department had to build 32 helipads for the most awaited official guest but none of these was actually used.
The district administration ensured all the “necessary arrangements” ahead of Mr Buzdar’s visit, including the parking of flour trucks at such places where the chief minister would have easily spotted them if his visit was not cancelled.
The chief minister had said during his visit to Dera Ghazi Khan a couple of days back that he would start visits to three south districts from Feb 6.
Since the announcement many local MPAs, mostly allies of the ruling party as they were part of Junoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz that demanded creation of a new province in the south, had been claiming that Mr Buzdar was visiting the district on their invitation.
One of the MPAs, Mian Alamdar Qureshi, who had recently posted a pic on social media with Mr Buzdar at the Chief Minister House in Lahore, had been claiming that on his request the CM would announce mega projects for the district during his visit.
Similarly, MPA Sardar Abdul Haye Dasti, who had been claiming that the chief minister would announce a mega sewerage project for the city allocating Rs1 billion for it was very disappointed with the cancellation of the visit.
However, to keep their supporters’ morale high the MPAs claimed the visit was only postponed and soon a new date would be announced.
As per insiders, the MPAs had decided that during their planned meeting with the chief minister here, they would jointly demand a varsity campus for the district that was badly needed for the area.
However, the visit postponement for the 16th time disappointed all of them, especially those who had claimed that Mr Buzdar would be visiting the district on their personal invitation.
During the chief minister’s visit to the neighboring D G Khan district in January, Muzaffargarh MPAs were expecting invitation for a meeting with Mr Buzdar but their hopes were dashed when he returned to Lahore without meeting them.
Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2020