LAHORE: Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, who was sacked as punjab governor late on Saturday night, says he has been punished for opposing the ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ orders given to him by the prime minister to pave the way for the election of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi as the chief minister.
However, he was also candid enough to admit that he had done a few unsavoury things ignoring the voice of his conscience in the aftermath of the decision to replace Usman Buzdar with the PML-Q leader at the insistence of the prime minister. “Now what’s happened (sacking) to me, I think, is karma.”
At a hurriedly called, hard-hitting press conference at the Governor House on Sunday, Mr Sarwar berated Prime Minister Imran Khan for failing the PTI’s struggle to create a ‘Naya Pakistan’ and continuing to be blackmailed by PML-Q Punjab president Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, who had only nine MPAs by his side. PM Khan’s decision to nominate Elahi for the Punjab chief minister’s seat was a slap on the face of PTI’s 184 elected MPAs, he maintained.
Turning his guns towards Mr Buzdar, a visibly angry and aggressive Sarwar lamented that Mr Khan could only find the former CM to steer the largest province towards ‘Naya Pakistan’. He said there were many senior party leaders but the PM did not find anyone “fit” enough for the coveted position.
Besides Mr Khan, the entire PTI, people of Punjab and even federal ministers kept reiterating how wrong a choice Buzdar was as the chief minister, but it all fell on deaf ears. Under Mr Buzdar’s rule, Mr Sarwar claimed, corruption in Punjab increased manifold.
When PM Khan eventually decided to replace Buzdar, he added, he could not find a single MPA from his own party to pitch as the chief minister’s candidate. It came as a shock for the entire PTI that the PM was, yet again, compelled to select a party outsider (Elahi) for the slot, who on his part kept ridiculing the prime minister in his TV interviews. Elahi was contacting every party, including the PML-N and PTI, and actually blackmailing them to nominate him for the CM office.
The former governor also elaborated how he was allegedly pressurised by PM Khan and senior ministers Pervaiz Khattak and Shah Mahmood Qureshi on April 1 to immediately accept Buzdar’s resignation and call an assembly session the next day and ensure Elahi won. He said he resisted, but was forced to sign the order for summoning the session illegally and unconstitutionally late in the night without receiving advice from the relevant forums.
While the assembly session was called on April 2, Sarwar explained, he yet again received a call and was told that Elahi was losing the election and that he should prorogue the session and eventually dissolve the assembly. “I refused to do so for being in contravention to the law and constitution of Pakistan, and sought time to consult lawyers,” he claimed, adding he was sacked in the dark of the night because of the refusal. He admitted he deserved this treatment because he had signed on an unconstitutional document in the dark of the night, saying, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
He disclosed he had made it clear to the prime minister that he was not interested in supporting Parvez Elahi, and urged him not to get blackmailed by the PML-Q leader.
Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2022