Sunday Apr 03, 2022
LAHORE: Former governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar lambasted the PTI leadership Sunday after he was removed from office, with sources saying the decision was taken at PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi's request.
The ex-governor, addressing a press conference shortly after being sacked, said if there is an foreign conspiracy against the incumbent government then it was electing Buzdar as the chief minister.
Sarwar said that despite having several prominent candidates, including Fawad Chaudhry, Imran Khan decided to pick Usman Buzdar as the chief minister — as only he could move Punjab towards the goal of "Naya Pakistan".
"All of PTI workers — in Punjab, Pakistan — and the federal ministers complained to us whether this was the Pakistan that we wanted where the chief secretary and inspector general are changed every three months," the former governor said.
Sarwar said keeping aside everyone's reservations, he vowed to stand behind the prime minister. "On the one hand, there was the prime minister and on the other, it was the entire PTI."
"Bribery has reached the grassroots levels, but we vowed to stand with Imran Khan."
The ex-governor said that when he had presented the proposal of resigning voluntarily, then why was there a need to dismiss him. "Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pervez Khattak are witnesses to it."
Sarwar said he was asked to do "unconstitutional things". He explained that once Buzdar had resigned from his post, despite it not being approved and notified, the prime minister and PTI leadership asked him to call a session of the Punjab Assembly to elect the new CM.
"I asked them to not make me do illegal things [...] I told them that they can have me resign, but I will not do unconstitutional acts," the ex-governor said.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, announcing the government's decision, said that PTI leader Omer Sarfaraz Cheema has been appointed as the new Punjab governor.
Sources within the federal government said that Sarwar has been removed from his post on PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi's request, for allegedly campaigning for Hamza Shahbaz in the election of the chief minister.
It is to be noted that Elahi is contesting against the Opposition's candidate, Hamza, for the coveted slot of the chief minister.
Read more: Tough contest expected between Hamza, Elahi as Punjab Assembly to elect new CM today
Sources said that Elahi directly complained to PM Imran Khan about Sarwar on a phone call, after which the premier advised President Arif Alvi to remove the governor.
Moving on, Sarwar said he is being blamed for playing on both sides, but noted that he was not interesed in the politics of "foul language" and warned that if he was attacked, he would retaliate.
Lashing out at the prime minister, everyone has the right to an independent foreign policy, but a country should remain within their boundaries.
"We cannot bear enmity with America [...] states build relations with other countries on the economic status of others," the ex-governor said.
Sarwar urged the prime minister to not drag international politics into domestic politics.
Later in the day, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameen Bhatti administered the oath to PTI's Cheema as the new governor of Punjab.
A tough contest is expected in the Punjab Assembly today between the joint Opposition’s candidate Hamza Shehbaz and the government’s ally Chaudhry Parvez Elahi the chief minister's slot.
The prized slot fell vacant after the resignation of Sardar Usman Buzdar following a deal between the ruling PTI and PML-Q few days back.
Both candidates need at least 186 votes in the House of 371 to win the poll for the slot of CM Punjab.
With the full House comprising 371 MPAs, PML-N seems highly optimistic of regaining the crown of Punjab that it lost in 2018.
The Opposition claims that its joint strength comprising its own 160 MPAs (PML-N total strength is 165 out of which five MPAs are siding with the government), seven MPAs of PPP and rest from the rebel groups of PTI headed by Jehnagir Khan Tareen (JKT) and Abdul Aleem Khan and four out of five independents, stands above 188.
On the other hand, the ruling coalition candidate has also used his experience and influence in winning the support of JKT group MPAs and publicly, MPA Rafaqat Gilani, a part of JKT group has claimed that he was “siding with Imran and cannot leave him in crucial time”.