LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday came to the rescue of his nominee for the position of Punjab chief minister, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, by removing the chief secretary and the IGP who allegedly refused to ‘sort out’ the PTI dissidents to stop them from voting for the opposition candidate in the Punjab Assembly.
It is learnt that the federal government has decided to appoint Punjab chief minister’s former principal secretary Tahir Khurshid, who is currently serving as acting secretary National Food Security and Research Division, as the chief secretary and Lahore CCPO Fayyaz Dev as IGP. A notification to the effect is awaited.
Sources told Dawn that both Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal and IGP Rao Sardar Ali Khan were summoned by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
The chief minister, flanked by PML-Q leaders, insisted that they should round up the PTI dissident MPAs and ensure that they should not vote for the opposition’s CM candidate.
The chief secretary and the IGP are said to have refused to indulge in the illegal activity and the PML-Q leaders demanded that they both be replaced.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had himself assured Parvez Elahi of all possible help needed ahead of his election as chief minister, during his one-on-one meeting a few days ago at the Governor House, Lahore.
Sources said the chief minister had moved two summaries for the prime minister to replace the chief secretary and the IGP. For the chief secretary’s replacement, the chief minister had given the names of former principal secretary Tahir Khurshid, Yousaf Bashir Khokhar and Planning and Development Board chairman Abdullah Khan Sumbal. Mr Sumbal, however, immediately requested that his candidature might be withdrawn.
Similarly, the chief minister moved a summary for the appointment of a new IGP while giving a panel – Lahore CCPO Fayyaz Dev, former IG Islamabad Amir Zulfiqar Khan and former Punjab IGP Inam Ghani.
Meanwhile, an interesting debate on the replacement of top officers began when PML-N leader Khawaja Asif tweeted saying that the chief secretary and IG Punjab refused to act illegally to arrest defecting PTI members and make them disappear till the time of vote for the chief minister. He also stated that the Punjab government had asked the federal govt to remove them and post persons of their choice.
Soon afterwards, PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi responded in a tweet telling that he (Khawaja Asif) had admitted that there were PTI MPAs who would be voting against their party directions. “Thank you for supporting implementation of defection clause. I hope you will uphold the Constitution of Pakistan,” Mr Elahi added in his tweet.
Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2022