Will remain Punjab CM 'as long as God wills it', says Hamza

Published May 19, 2022
Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz addresses a press conference on Thursday. —DawnNewsTV
Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz addresses a press conference on Thursday. —DawnNewsTV

Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz on Thursday said that he would stay on the post of CM "as long as God wills it" and vowed to continue working for the welfare and well-being of the people of the province "without wasting any moment".

Hamza's comments come as his future as the chief minister is in question with the Supreme Court's verdict, which ruled that the votes of defecting lawmakers will not be counted on the presidential reference on Article 63-A. Some 25 dissident PTI lawmakers' votes were instrumental in Hamza being election as CM.

At a press conference in Lahore today, he recalled that from the day he was appointed the chief executive of Punjab, numerous hurdles and roadblocks were created for him by the PTI.

"The way these people are creating problems in Punjab, whether it is the former governor [Omar Sarfraz Cheema] or the president [Arif Alvi] ... The way they are spreading propaganda among the public ... I have decided not to waste a second in making things easier for the people," Hamza promised.

Read more: Hamza's troubles far from over

Referring to former prime minister Imran Khan, he said that no matter how many obstacles he creates in the way, "I won't let anything hinder my resolve in working for the people of Punjab".

The chief minister lamented that during the PTI government, Punjab "suffered an immense shortage of wheat". "The province that gave wheat to other provinces was reeling from a shortage and even though the former government was aware about it, it decided to export wheat.

"People had to stand in queues and wait for hours. And when they became most vulnerable, they (PTI) decided to import wheat expensive dollars," Hamza alleged.

"But I want to tell you today that the government of Punjab is standing with its people," he pledged, announcing a relief package for the province in which the price of a 10kg bag of wheat flour, which earlier cost Rs650, has been reduced to Rs490.

"In 36 districts of Punjab, people will be able to buy flour at this price," the CM said. "We are giving a relief of Rs160 under the Rs200 billion subsidy for the province."

'Imran Khan is trying to divide the army'

Meanwhile, in response to Imran Khan's remarks at the party's Gujranwala rally, Hamza lambasted the PTI chairman for "trying to divide the army".

"I want to tell you today that what Imran Khan Niazi is doing is not politics. He is spreading hatred in the name of politics."

During his address last night, the former prime minister had said that families of army personnel would also take part in his upcoming march to Islamabad to remove the "imported government that came to power through a US-backed conspiracy".

Imran said: "The police will also help you [in getting to Islamabad]. They will send their family members with you and government employees will [do the same] as well.

"And I know my army's families will also come with us to Islamabad," he added.

Drawing attention to the PTI chairman's comments, the Punjab CM demanded that the public and institutions should "immediately take notice of this". "At a time when the economy is on the ventilator and political differences are rising, he is conspiring to divide the army," Hamza said.

"What does he want to do with this country? I, as a Pakistani, want to warn the nation: don't get misled with his fake demeanor."

He urged people and the institutions to "keep an eye" on Imran and his tactics. "He is trying to destroy Pakistan for his ego, just like he trampled the Constitution and the law for his ego. Keep politics aside. First decide what this man is trying to do with the nation. The people and institutions will have to take notice."

Imran, Hamza continued, was upsetting our friends. "He says 'absolutely not' in his rallies and provokes the super power. We have diplomatic relations with US and want to maintain bilateral ties with it.

"Some times he targets the European Union in his statements," he said, warning that in the upcoming days, Pakistan would have to "pay a price" for these comments.

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