Speculations of the replacement of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar have increased and reports reveal that leaders of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf are demanding his ouster due to the growing concerns over his failure to effectively manage the affairs of Pakistan’s most significant province.
Even though none of the party leaders and members have made a public statement with regards to the incompetence of the Punjab government and its Chief Minister, sources reveal that the leaders are quite vocal their critique during background interviews.
Out with Buzdar
The prevailing belief in PTI is that the Punjab government has failed to efficiently run the province. A senior leader of the ruling party spoke to the media on the condition of anonymity and expressed the party’s dissatisfaction with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s performance.
— Mian Subhan (@MianSubhan) November 23, 2019
The senior PTI leader said, “Yes, we are dissatisfied with the performance of Usman Buzdar so far, and a majority of leaders within the party want him to be replaced with a more competent, and active political personality. But the question remains: How?”
The leader continued, “It appears that there is no way to usher in the change we desire as there are several pressure groups within the PTI, and the ambitions of allies (PML-Q) are well established.”
The unnamed PTI leader added that there are various groups hatched by PTI leaders, including the Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, Jahangir Khan Tareen, Punjab Information Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, and former Provincial Minister Abdul Aleem Khan.
The PTI leader said that given the presence of various groups, it is difficult to build a consensus within the party and ensure that all the groups agree on one name for the integral post.
On various occasions, the PML-Q has expressed its reluctance to continue supporting the PTI government in Punjab if Usman Buzdar is replaced as the Chief Minister.
Warnings & Consultations
Media reports cited a source within the PTI’s core committee to report that this issue has been highlighted top circles of party leaders.
The source added that Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired meetings and discussions over the failures of Punjab CM Buzdar, however, no decisions were taken. He said, “Decisions are only taken by Imran Khan, whether or not the issues are deliberated by the core committee or the central executive committee.”
تحریک انصاف کے MPAs کا بزدار صاحب اور حکومت پنجاب کی بدترین پرفارمنس پر شدید غصے کا اظہار
لوکل باڈی الیکشنز اگر کروائے گئے تو PTI اتنی بری پرفارمنس پر بدترین شکست سے دوچار ہو گی :MPAs
نکا وسیم اکرم
— Dr Humma Saeef (@HummaSaif) November 23, 2019
Sources reveal that Prime Minister Imran Khan had a meeting with CM Usman Buzdar after presiding over the core committee meeting in Islamabad. Even though no official communique has been issued in this regard, several TV channels reported that the Prime Minister has expressed his frustration with Buzdar’s lack of efficient governance in Punjab.
The reports added that the Premier has directed Buzdar to deliver good governance even if he is compelled to change any bureaucrat.
Read more: CM Usman Buzdar: Promises and the Reality
However, a provincial leader of the PTI claimed that some ministers will be asked to resign while the portfolios of powerful politicians could be changed, if not removed from the cabinet entirely.
Seraiki Poet Detained for Criticizing Buzdar
Seraiki poet and teacher, Mehboob Tabish, has been detained by the Taunsa police for criticizing Chief Minister Usman Buzdar during the launch of a Seraiki poetry book by Iqbal Sokri.
Yet an other attack on freedom of expression: Mehboob Tabish a friend, eminent siraiki poet, intellectual and historian of the community arrested yesterday during a book launch ceremony in Taunsa. Police arrested him for criticizing @UsmanAKBuzdar and PTI's rule. Such a shame. pic.twitter.com/lYPp8RgBJc
— Auwn Gurmani (@auwn_) November 24, 2019
Reports reveal that during the book launch of Iqbal Sokri’s new poetry collection, held at Taunsa Sharif, Mehboob Tabish was one of the speakers and during his speech, he criticized Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the “Legharis, Mazaris and feudalism”, holding them responsible for the challenges and widespread poverty in the Seraiki region.
Speaking to the media, Mehboob Tabish said, “I put forward an interpretation of Iqbal Sokri’s poetry, intermingling it with political explanations. While explaining the differences between the perspectives of poets and politicians from the Seraiki region, I criticized the politicians for serving the Lahore Darbar.”
Tabish continued, “I also accused them of being shameless.” Narrating his ordeal, Tabish said that a cousin of Usman Buzdar, SP Fazal Buzdar, was also a part of the gathering, and during his speech, he stood up and began shouting and hurling threats at him.
Tabish said that he still halfway through his speech when men in civilian clothes interrupted him and began pushing him around, saying that criticizing Chief Minister Buzdar was unacceptable. The police was also present at the venue and immediately arrested him.
— Mr_Khan (@mr_Khan049) November 24, 2019
The Seraiki poet said that he was taken to the local police station, and his friends, lawyers, and Seraiki activists arrived at the station, raising slogans against the injustice and demanding his release. Police detained Tabish for around two hours without registering a first information report (FIR) and later, allowed him to leave.
Station House Officer (SHO) Bakhat Nasar apprised the press that Tabish had used inappropriate language against CM Buzdar, however, he was allowed to leave the station after the matter was resolved. Taunsa police officials also claimed that Tabish was taken into custody to protect him from an angry crowd, and he was allowed to leave once the situation was under control.
Read more: Is Usman Buzdar trying to be more Powerful?
Iqbal Sokri also issued a video message to condemn the arrest of Tabish. Sokri negated SHO Bakhat Nasar’s allegations, saying that Tabish did not name any politician in his speech.
Iqbal said, ‘I condemn the actions of the police. Mehboob Tabish did not name any names in his speech. We address the same concepts in our poetry, and it does not mean that anyone who says the same should be arrested.”