- Imran speaks out
Prime Minister Imran Khan has come out firmly in support of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, saying that he has achieved much and urging him to hold a seminar to publicise the PTI’s achievements in Punjab. That might send a clear signal of support, but it also might cause some head scratching among those who might try to identify what exactly might Mr Buzdar have achieved. That Mr Khan felt the need to make this expression of support indicates that he is aware of the rising tide of criticism of Mr Buzdar, and that he chose a meeting with Punjab Cabinet members and MPAs during his latest visit to Lahore, indicates that he is also aware that much of the criticism comes from within the PTI itself. Mr Khan himself did not list any achievements, beyond saying that Mr Buzdar did not live in a palatial house, nor spend Rs800 million a year on his security. He did not talk about Mr Buzdar’s track record on police reforms, which is in the doldrums, nor on inflation or the economy. Actually, any criticism of the Punjab government’s economic performance reflects badly on Mr Khan himself, so perhaps he does not want to go there.
Mr Buzdar seems to need some restriction, for he has been in office for a year, which means that Mr Khan telling civil servants, with whom he had a meeting too, that they should not obey political pressures, had to be directed against his government. It is to be assumed that he cannot be accusing them of taking pressure from the previous government. Mr Khan may have been blaming them for the smog in the provincial capital, for not taking measures that had been recommended long ago. He said that the government was taking measures to control smog, over the next three years. That would still mean that smog would stop in time for the next general election, but it would have to be tolerated until then.
Mr Khan would do well to remember that there is a limit to how much he can ‘talk up’ Mr Buzdar. In the end, it is how the electorate sees how much change there has been in their lives that will determine how they vote. Is Mr Buzdar doing enough to win those votes?