Wednesday Aug 22 2018

Usman Buzdar cleared of 'murder controversy' as report reveals namesake suspect

KARACHI/LAHORE: A two-decade-old report has cleared the misconception that the new chief minister of Punjab was involved in a murder case that left six people dead and multiple others injured.

In Geo News' programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath, this correspondent spoke of the incident, which did, in fact, take place in 1998, whereafter a first information report (FIR) was filed and consequent court proceedings were held.

According to the investigation carried out at that time and the present probe, the person identified as Usman Buzdar — who was named as a suspect in the 1998 case — is not the same person who is now the chief minister of Punjab. This was corroborated by the court rulings and a three-page police report from two decades ago.

Reports had surfaced over the past few days, after the new CM was nominated by Prime Minister Imran Khan, alleging that Buzdar and other members of his family were involved in the murder of six people and had subsequently made a diyat payment — a local equivalent of blood money paid as compensation to the family of the deceased.

The concerning reports had caused a flurry of controversy and criticism for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Khan-nominated chief minister Sardar Usman Buzdar. The party and Buzdar had both denied the allegations.

According to the details revealed in the report, the incumbent Punjab chief minister was contesting local body polls in 1998, and, on the election day, a scuffle had broken out at a government school between two local tribes. Firing during that incident had left six people dead and four injured.

According to the FIR dated June 10, 1998, Muavia Buzdar — who filed the case — said about 40-45 armed men stationed at the polling station on election day had threatened him and warned him that they would not let him vote for anyone other than Usman Buzdar.

Muavia Buzdar further alleged that when he walked towards the polling station, the armed men opened fire, killing six people and wounding four others.

Soon after, allegations of plotting murder were levelled against Usman Buzdar and his father, Sardar Fateh Buzdar, and an FIR was filed against them, which then led to a police probe. However, as per a conclusive police report available with Geo News, no proof was found against Buzdar or Sardar Fateh, and they were declared innocent.

Even in their initial action, police had dropped the charges against the two Buzdars; nevertheless, there were court proceedings in this regard as well.

The court, however, had dropped the charges against all of the 30 suspects named in the case, owing to the fact that the matter was resolved after the payment of diyat.

It is important to note here that the Usman Buzdar recorded in the list of suspects in the court ruling was the son of Ali Shah and a resident of Sura on the border between Punjab and Balochistan.

On the other hand, the name of the incumber Punjab CM's father is Sardar Fateh Muhammad Buzdar, who is a resident of Bharti, a tribal area near Dera Ghazi Khan.

Needless to say, the name of Usman Buzdar recorded in the court proceedings and a police report had caused the confusion that now-CM Punjab was involved in a murder case. That stands untrue.