A surprising choice
An MPA from one of the least developed constituencies in Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has been nominated by prime minister Imran Khan for the coveted post of Chief Minister Punjab. Power, pressure and responsibility associated with running the most populous and politically crucial province in the country is immense and there were many hopefuls in PTI eyeing to top job in Punjab. Perhaps in order to avoid a possible crisis; nominating a relatively unknown person was the best course to take. Punjab is a highly complex province that has been run by the same party and man for the better part of ten years. At its core is a rigid bureaucracy molded by Shehbaz Sharif to suit his style of governance. Unlike other provinces Punjab has not had an empowered chief secretary for some time meaning Buzdar will have to learn the job without much of an orientation.
Imran Khan’s logic to give this post to a relatively unknown member of his party is that he hails from an impoverished area of Punjab hence understands the plight of the local man enabling him to better serve the province. By that logic shouldn’t he have made a similar appointment in KP – a comparatively lesser developed province than Punjab – instead of Mahmood Khan, a billionaire? Buzdar has not been able to deliver electricity in his hometown after being elected as Nazim twice under Musharraf’s regime when ample funds were disbursed to local bodies for development. His track record therefore does not inspire much confidence.
He will need to be asserting and hands on in order to keep the various components of the Punjab government in running condition. Dealing with an opposition led by Hamza Shahbaz who knows the province well will be a difficult task as well. Then again perhaps Buzdar is a seat warmer who will be empowered with limits and guided by others in the party who are unable to take the seat at the moment. The prime minister’s first major appointment is surprising and shocking to say the least. How it all pans out remains to be seen.