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Friday, February 16, 2024

CM Punjab insists police is being reformed: Reports contradict his stance

Chief Minister Punjab has clarified that he is not going to be replaced any time soon. He also insists big changes in Punjab police. However, recent cases and reports which suggest crime rate is increasing and police officers torture accused persons contradict his version

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar in his first-ever interview after getting elected has rubbished reports claiming his replacement. CM Buzdar explained his background, his political vision and PM Khan’s idea of change to Kamran Shahid in ‘On The Front‘ on Dunya News.

CM Buzdar told the anchor that he seeks the guidance of the Prime Minister when talking about any important decision. However, he negated the claims that the PM unnecessarily intervenes into provincial government affairs.

While comment on the reports about his expected replace the CM said that no one can remove me if PM and cabinet have confidence in me. He said I have reduced my security protocol by 65 percent.

Moreover, while commenting on the state of governance and police reforms in Punjab he was confident about the ‘change’ his government has made. He said I do not claim that all is well in Punjab but DPOs and RPOs are being appointed on merit. The CM said Punjab police must bring a positive change in their attitude. He said now there is no political intervention in police, adding that reforms are being introduced in police department.

CM Punjab said 25% addition in crime rate reported on media is not true. He said the truth is there are more registrations for cases as Punjab government has made the process much easier. He said technology based intervention in Police is being introduced and Khidmat Markaz, online monitoring, safe city projects are part of our efforts. However, many of the projects were initiated by the previous government. There has been no police reform as envisioned by the premier before coming into power.

PM Khan promised to bring significant changes in bureaucracy and police department before winning the general elections in 2018.

Punjab government recently came under criticism when a mentally impaired man died in the custody of the police. The man later identified as Salahudin was subjected to severe torture ultimately leading to his death. Social media rose up for the victim and demanded an answer from the PTI government that where is the reform package the government promised for?

Buzdar being Replaced?

According to recent local media reports, Prime Minister Imran Khan was considering to replace Usman Buzdar. A local TV channel reported in April that the prime minister has summoned progress report of the minister from Punjab chief minister and also sought performance report of the Punjab government from various departments. Sources informed GVS that the changing of six provincial ministers’ portfolios is on the cards including, health, prisons, energy, labor, excise, and food.

Social media also demanded that Usman Buzdar should immediately be replaced for not being able to deliver in Punjab. Therefore, Buzdar’s replacement was on cards.  In a talk-show Breaking with Malick anchorperson, Muhammad Malick broke the news that three names are being considered to replace CM Buzdar. Mohsin Langrial, Aslam Iqbal and Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht. “Buzdar has reportedly been given three months to improve his performance otherwise he’ll be replaced,” he added.

Read more: Salahuddin’s death in police custody exposes ugly face of Punjab police

Analysts believe that Prime Minister Khan is clear about what he is up to but he is unable to get a competent team in order to materialize his idea of change. Irshad Bhatti, a prominent analyst, argues that the PM failed to appointment competent individuals in the driving seats in Punjab and KPK. “What PM needs to do is very clear. Appoint four to five competent federal ministers and two dynamic and visionary men in Punjab and KPK,” he suggested PM Khan.

There are also some reports which suggest that there was a tussle going on between Governor Punjab Muhammad Sarwar and PML-Q leadership. The police chief in the province along with the chief secretary are two reportedly blue-eyed men of former chief minister Punjab and the sitting speaker of the Punjab assembly. PML-Q desires to go with Usman Buzdar to maintain its control across the province.

However, Ch. Sarwar and some other senior leaders of the party do not feel comfortable and demanding immediate replacement of Buzdar. It is yet to be seen that how will PM Khan go move forward in Punjab which is the largest province (in terms of population) and traditionally considered as political threshold of the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

PM Khan promised to bring significant changes in bureaucracy and police department before winning the general elections in 2018. The people of Punjab are reportedly now waiting for the promised change in the province.