Sunday Jan 26, 2020
LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has outright refused to remove Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, saying he knew who the conspirator behind the CM Punjab fiasco is, sources informed Geo News.
The sources added that while addressing a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) on Sunday, PM Imran said Buzdar would remain the Punjab CM and he will not be removed at any cost.
The prime minister added that he knew who was creating the controversy to oust Buzdar and that the conspirator wanted the post for himself.
If the incumbent CM was removed, the new one, too, would be forced to step down in a similar manner, the prime minister warned. A new chief minister, if appointed, would not even last 20 days, he added.
The premier further added that there was negative propaganda that Buzdar did not have the required authority; however, the chief secretary and inspector-general (IG) of Punjab were new and would work as a part of the CM's team, he added.
Buzdar has complete authority, he added.
PM Imran also tasked 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.
With regard to inflation, the PM tasked the provincial government with the responsibility to tell the truth. The ongoing higher prices were due to the prior governments' bad policies, he added.
The Punjab government should tell people how prior administrations economically ruined Pakistan.
The CM controversy has brought discord not only among the coalition parties but in the ruling one as well. Earlier this week, Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz ul Hasan Chohan had said he could "only lament" Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudry's criticism of CM Buzdar's governance.
Chohan had said Chaudhry was "keeping himself above discipline [in his] attitude and behaviour", which was "very destructive to any party, institution, group or family". Chaudhry "tries to be a hero" every month, he had added.
"He's my brother, my friend, and he's very competent in some aspects but I believe that he has crossed a boundary in terms of violating [party] discipline.
"One should should think of the benefit of the boat one is in," the provincial information minister said, adding that it was neither Chaudhry's authority or prerogative to form an opinion on the chief minister that he should step down or should be retained.
Everyone, including PM Imran, the provincial Cabinet, and the MPAs from treasury benches "are on his side", Chohan had said of Buzdar. To Chaudhry, however, he had stated: "I ask him, 'Brother, what's your problem?'
"My constraint is that he's my friend and he belongs to my treasury bench and my group, my party. Otherwise, I would have dealt with him in my signature way, my beautiful typical way. I can answer him in a very good manner but I'm bound because I have a disciplined attitude. That's why I will not — categorically — retort to Fawad Chaudhry."
"Fawad Chaudhry still doesn't understand or have the experience about how to speak about his own [party and party member] and I can only lament," he had added. "However, this has been his problem and he will never change."
Chohan went on to advise Chaudhry to stick to the science and technology ministry and make sure that Pakistan became a force to be reckoned with in the space.
"I request you to prepare a Ghauri II or Ghauri III for space. Leave the clerics and Usman Buzdar alone," he added.
Earlier, in a meeting of the PTI's core committee, the science minister had lashed out at Buzdar over the latter's “failure to deliver”. He had also reportedly informed the premier that of the Rs350 billion allocated for Punjab's development projects, the provincial government had only utilised Rs77 billion.
Sources had informed Geo News that Chaudhry also accused the Punjab government of not disbursing the finance commission award to the districts. In response to the accusations, the PM directed the provincial government to release the award, the sources had added.
The science minister had also criticised last week the discretionary funds' availability to chief ministers, saying on Twitter they were "against public interest" and a violation of Article 140-A of the Constitution.
His comments had come amid reports that he was upset with the provincial government. He had said the problem was not limited to Punjab but stemmed from an unfair allocation of development funds.
“The problem is of the distribution of funds and not of Punjab government,” Chaudhry had said in a post on Twitter. He had added that the dispensation of funds at the chief ministers' discretion, instead of a set formula, was against Article 140-A.
In his tweet, he had also said chief ministers considered themselves as "kings".
"The chief ministers consider themselves kings [because of the power to dole our funds as they please]," he had tweeted, adding that "this is against the public interest."
In response to criticism of his governance, Buzdar had said Friday the Treasury was "a trust of the nation" and that the provincial government had "done away with the culture of showoffs' extravagant and reckless spending".
The CM added that the former governments had used the Treasury as something free but the incumbent leadership was more mindful and understood that the Treasury was entrusted to them. "Unnecessary expenditures have been curtailed to a great extent," he had added.