–Naeemul Haque says Tareen was invited but he could not attend event due to personal engagements
LAHORE: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar on Thursday hosted a reception for lawmakers and senior leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its ally Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), however PTI’s senior leader Jahangir Khan Tareen and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi were conspicuous with their absence raising many an eyebrow in political circles.
According to reports, 125 lawmakers from the total 185 of the ruling alliance in Punjab attended the reception, including Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Informed sources said that while Governor Sarwar had not invited Jahangir Tareen to the reception, he had personally extended an invitation to Elahi on the telephone, however he did not show up at the event. Elahi’s son Moonis Elahi and senior party leader Tariq Bashir Cheema were also not seen at the dinner reception.
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Naeemul Haque denied fissures in the ruling PTI, insisting that Tareen had been invited to the reception but he could not come due to personal engagements.
Interestingly, CM Buzdar met Elahi a few hours before the reception after which the latter again reiterated his party’s support for the former.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Elahi clarified that there were no differences between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q).
The PML-Q leader said that his political party was standing alongside Punjab chief minister from the first day and it will continue to support Buzdar in future as well. He added that all should pray for further strengthening of coalition partnership between the political parties.
Governor Sarwar’s role in the Punjab government affairs seems to have been curtailed to constitutional limits on the ‘desire’ of Prime Minister Imran Khan after complaints of his constant intervention in the affairs of the Buzdar administration, according to reports.
“As Jehangir Tareen and Pervaiz Elahi have put their weight behind Buzdar and uneasiness of the CM has been reported to the premier over the governor’s continued meddling in the affairs of the Punjab government, Imran has categorically conveyed to Sarwar to only play his constitutional role,” a media report quoted an official source.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Sarwar said that CM Buzdar was the chief executive of the province and enjoying all powers that his predecessors did.
“Rumours about my resignation must die. Everyone, including myself, is working within the constitutional limits and all of us enjoy confidence of the prime minister,” the governor said.
However, according to reports Sarwar was not only interfering in transfers and postings of government officials, but also had created a lobby of PTI MPAs.
“Since assuming the governor’s office some eight months ago, Sarwar was quite active in the affairs of the party and the government. He even succeeded in getting Amjad Saleemi of his district appointed as Punjab police chief, who has recently been removed,” the report said.
Since Sarwar accompanied Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at a press conference at the Governor House earlier this month in which the minister objected to Jahangir Tareen’s presence in official meetings despite having been disqualified by the Supreme Court, the governor had openly declared his opposition to the “powerful man” in the PTI.
After that PM Imran received complains about the growing role of Sarwar in Punjab. And subsequently responsibility for failure of Punjab police under Amjad Saleemi to assist NAB in arresting Opposition Leader in the Provincial Assembly Hamza Shahbaz during a raid at his residence in money laundering investigation fell squarely on Sarwar’s shoulder, the report said, claiming that the prime minister had refused to meet Sarwar after the latter’s return from the United States a few days ago and later a message was conveyed to him that he should focus on his constitutional role in the province.