PTI chief’s Punjab CM of choice Usman Buzdar quits politics

Published June 2, 2023
Former Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar addresses a press conference in Lahore on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
Former Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar addresses a press conference in Lahore on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

Former Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Friday became the latest PTI leader to quit politics.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Buzdar, who did not specify if he was also leaving the party, said, “Keeping in view the situation in the country — we have always done the politics of virtue and encourage it. But in the present political situation, I have decided to quit politics.”

Condemning the violent incidents of May 9 — when civil and military installations were vandalised by enraged protestors — he asserted that he always stood with the Pakistan Army and will keep on doing so.

Commenting on the ongoing political crises in the country, Buzdar said, “I want to request all the stakeholders to set aside their ego, [think beyond] their parties and work for a better future of Pakistan.”

“I also extend my best wishes to everyone,” the former chief minister added.

Referring to the countrywide arrests made against those allegedly involved in May 9 incidents, Buzdar said that relief should be provided to all the “innocent citizens” who were in jails and called for their immediate release.

The announcement comes as several PTI leaders, including Shireen Mazari and Ali Haider Zaidi, have quit politics altogether while also separating their paths from the PTI over the May 9 incidents.

Other leaders Aamer Mehmood Kiani, Barrister Maleeka Bokhari, Imran Ismail, Murad Raas and Malik Amin Aslam have also quit the party while Asad Umar and Pervez Khattak have resigned from their party positions but stayed in the party.

Buzdar’s decision to quit politics came a day after Khattak, former KP chief minister, resigned from his party positions.

Mixed legacy

His critics and the media mostly painted Buzdar — who had ‘survived’ many speculations, mostly originating from within his own party, of his early departure from the chief minister’s office — as an “inept and ineffective” administrator.

As per a Dawn editorial from March 2022, Buzdar was a politician constrained by his total inexperience in the affairs of the state, and left behind a mixed legacy as did many of his predecessors.

The ex-PTI MNA was elected as Punjab’s chief minister in August 2018 but resigned from his position in March 2022 after a delegation of senior lawmakers had submitted a no-trust motion against him in the Punjab Assembly the same day.

In April 2022, Advocate Nadeem Sarwar had formally accepted Buzdar’s resignation and summoned a session of the Punjab Assembly for the election of a new provincial chief executive.

In June of the same year, the ex-PTI leader and his family also had corruption cases registered against them for “unlawful and illegal misappropriation of state land” in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Earlier this month, a Lahore accountability court had extended his interim pre-arrest bail in an inquiry of illegal assets by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) with a warning to him to join the investigation without fail.

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