–PM says sacking will set a new precedent as Buzdar’s replacement won’t be able to survive 20 days
–Imran says he knows who’s conspiring against CM, tells them Buzdar enjoys complete authority in province
LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday held a meeting with Punjab lawmakers to put an end to the rumour mills churning out talks of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s removal from office, saying the incumbent chief minister will continue to lead the government.
He said this in a meeting with the disgruntled PTI lawmakers that followed his meeting with Buzdar on his one-day visit to Lahore. Soon after his arrival, he headed to the Chief Minister’s Office for a meeting with Buzdar amid reports of a possible mutiny within his ranks.
Over 20 MPAs had formed a forward bloc in Punjab because they were not happy with Buzdar who reshuffled the provincial bureaucracy without taking them into confidence and did not release development funds for their constituencies.
In a subsequent meeting, Imran took exception to the criticism against his ‘Wasim Akram-Plus’ and said that Buzdar is going nowhere and he fully supports his government.
“I know who is conspiring against the chief minister behind his back,” the PM said, adding that person wanted the provincial government’s top slot for himself.
He said that if he removes the incumbent chief minister, a new precedent will be set and his replacement would not even survive 20 days because he too would be forced out in a “similar” manner.
“There was negative propaganda in the past few days that Buzdar does not have the required authority [to run provincial affairs independently]. “He, however, has complete authority in the province and the new chief secretary and inspector-general will work with him as part of his team,” the PM added.
“Elimination of corruption is the manifesto of our political party. An organised mafia is promoting a negative impression against the government among nationals and the same people, who were misleading the nation for the last many decades, are now seen spreading confusion,” he added.
The premier directed the lawmakers to defeat such elements by implementing positive administrative changes. He said that big fishes involved in criminal activities and running mafias were gripped across Punjab for the first time in the history.
He also directed the Punjab government to quickly hold municipal elections at a village-council level, emphasising that lower-level elections were the solution to the people’s problems.
Regarding inflation, the PM tasked the provincial government to tell truth to people. “The ongoing higher prices were due to the prior governments’ bad policies. The Punjab government should tell people how those administrations ruined Pakistan,” he added.
BUZDAR FACES WRATH OF LAWMAKERS:
Buzdar is under a lot of criticism from his fellow party members and allied Pakistan Muslim League-Q for his inability to run the administration in an efficient manner and failing to release funds for their areas.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had also recently rebuked the Buzdar-led government for its “below-par performance” and accused the CM of acting like a ‘monarch’ in the matter pertaining to the release of the uplift funds. He had also questioned Buzdar’s ability to run the province.
The reports of a rift in the party also gained validation when Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed said on Saturday the ruling party is responsible for its own sufferings as an “already inactive” opposition posed no threat to PM Imran’s office.
On Sunday, the beleaguered CM sought to allay concerns of lawmakers and ticket-holders belonging to his party by assuring them of allocation of development funds for their constituencies.
ECONOMY TO BE STABILISED:
Speaking about the economy, the PM said 2019 was a year for bringing stabilisation in the economy, while 2020 would be the year for development as the country was heading on a right track. He said the previous governments had plundered the country mercilessly and pushed the public into unemployment and poverty.
The prime minister further said they had introduced the best administrative team in the province of Punjab. A well-coordinated strategy was on the anvil for bringing about harmony among the administration and elected representatives and for better governance, so that public issues could be resolved on a priority basis, he added.
He further said the masses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had expressed their confidence in the successful policies introduced in the health sector, local government system, especially in the functioning system of the police force.
The main reason, he said, behind the success of this system was the political non-interference.
Citing his recent visit to Davos where he attended the annual World Economic Forum meeting, the prime minister said they had made record savings in the government’s expenditures, especially by cutting down expenditures on the foreign visits.
The chief executive officers of a number of renowned companies were expressing their keen desire to invest in Pakistan which also spoke volumes about the successful visit to Davos, he added. Citing successes on the foreign policy, he said in the last year, Pakistan had emerged on the world scene as a significant and conspicuous country.
Today, the world was criticizing India. Pakistan’s friendly ties with all the important countries had been restored because they trusted the incumbent leadership in Pakistan due to its transparency and honesty, he added. He also expressed his complete confidence in Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.