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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

From Governor Sarwar to Governor Sarfraz

Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema officially assumed office as Governor Punjab. He met the staff and employees of the Governor House one by one. Expressing his views on the occasion, he said, “I am honored to be part of the struggle for a strong and independent Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan for the last 26 years, adding, he said that he will take forward the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.”

On April 03, 2022, Chaudhry Omer Sarfraz Cheema took the oath of office as 38th Governor of Punjab. Earlier the incumbent Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar the two times provincial chief was unceremoniously removed by the Prime Minister (PM). Sarwar Sb was discovered by Nawaz Sharif in the United Kingdom in the year 2013 and was appointed as the 33rd Governor of the largest province of Pakistan. He remained in this position till 2015.

After coming into power in 2018, Imran Khan re-appointed him to his old office. Sarwar Sb enjoyed spending time in the Colonial Princely Mansion though he resided in his personal house in Phase V, DHA. Cheema Sb also resides not too far from there in Phase lV. The two Governors have nothing in common except the fact that they both live in DHA. While Sarfraz Sb is an idealogue, Sarwar Sb is the run-of-the-mill politician.

Read more: PTI MPAs bring ‘lota’ in Punjab Assembly

Sarfraz Cheema has been a loyal ideologue since 1996 

Many a time he was ignored but he kept going. In the Inter-Party Elections held in the year 2012, he contested the position of Party President against the new comer Makhdoom Javed Hashmi. He challenged the credentials of the Makhdoom seeking his disqualification which was overruled as a result Hashmi Sb was elected. To balance this onslaught, another Makhdoom from Multan was appointed Vice-Chairman.

Comrade Ahsan Rashid was made to lose the position of President Punjab and so was Dr. Arif Alvi as Secretary-General. The Election Tribunal under Justice Wahjudin pointed out serious irregularities in the entire electoral process and recommended disqualification of the unscrupulous newcomers who used their tested old tricks to control the movement. Rest is history as they say. Now, most of these ‘Fasli Batairay’ (Migratory Birds) have left exposing the party to another round of struggle to win back its coveted slot of honest, selfless politics to build ‘Naya Pakistan’.

While Sarfraz Cheema is standing like a rock for his party, it is alleged that Sarwar Sb was working for the election of Hamza Shahbaz as Chief Minister (CM). This deceitful behavior was reported to the PM, who sacked him. In other words, a ‘Lota’ was replaced with a ‘Sota’ (Rod). Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was launched by IK to end ‘Lotacracy’ or ‘Horse Trading’ in politics but unfortunately, he too fell into the trap despite warnings from the old guard and party rank and file. The position of CM Punjab carries special significance as it can cut the PM to size.

Read more: PML-N moves LHC for urgent election of Punjab CM

During his first term, NS appointed an ordinary party worker Ghulam Haider Wyne to this slot, while leaving his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif to pull the strings from behind. Personally, though I am no fan of Usman Buzdar I still think he was more qualified than Wyne Sb whom I personally knew being a Muslim League child. Benazir was denied this position despite her popular support. In my opinion, Comrade Hanif Ramay was the ablest and most outstanding CM. As the undisputed and well-respected leader of PTI Comrade Ahsan Rashid was most qualified for this position but he was wronged twice once by the seasoned but failed electables who had managed to take control of the movement for change.

While IK wanted to shut down the Colonial Mansion, he faced obstacles

The office of the Governor can easily be shifted to 90 Sharae Quaid-e-Azam putting this place to better use. While PTI struggled for change, IK surrounded himself with Makhdoom’s, Pirs and Mirs instead of soldiers of change like Comrade Sarfraz Cheema. Now that the chips are down it is time to reflect and amend the past mistakes. It seems lessons are not learned.

Bhutto got rid of his original team but went looking for them when the crunch time came but it was already too late by then. Without ideology, there can be no politics. After the creation of Pakistan, the All-India Muslim League (AIML) lost its way, the Pakistan Muslim Leagues (All Brands) that emerged were interest groups out to usurp public rights and resources to build personal empires. This party has inflicted more harm than good and continues to do so. While its talks about ‘Vote ki Izzat’, it is willing to polish boots to come into power.

I am sure Sarwar Sb like the rest of the ‘Brand Politicians’ will rejoin their old ranks to re-emerge in some other form or position leaving behind no legacy of service to the people, nothing to write home about. As Governor, I met Sarwar Sb with a request to check the corruption within the Board of Revenue (BOR). What I heard surprised me, he complained about the lack of support from the bureaucracy in the launch of his Aab-e-Pak Authority. He asked if I could help with his project. He was not amused by my professional opinion. Pakistan faces a serious problem of ‘Dirty Water’ as it is being mixed with ‘Clean Water’. Pakistan needs Sewerage Treatment Plants, not Filtration Plants.

Read more: Twitter trolls PML-N for “electing” Hamza Shehbaz as Punjab Chief Minister

From Labour Party of UK to PML-N  then PTI it has been a rewarding political journey for Sarwar Sb. Now Comrade Sarfraz has come to face the brewing storm, I am confident, like his Kaptaan he will fight till the last ball. He will stand like a rock against the ‘Lotas’ to cleanse the province of the dirty water that continues to overflow.

Today the republic has an army of individuals in important positions who deliver no relief to the public, in fact, they have stories narrated for their lack of performance. The Governor’s House Lahore has a lot of history. Abdur Rab Nishtar Sb was the first ‘Desi’ occupant of this mansion. He was an honest upright individual who tried to serve his people. Nawab Amir Muhammad Khan was a tyrant who ruled by brute force during the Ayub regime. Ghulam Mustafa Khar was a people’s man, who opened the gates for the public.

The ‘Darbar Hall’ was extensively used to deliver relief to the suffering masses. Nawab Sadiq Hussain Qureshi operated in isolation, detached from the party workers. Mian Azhar decided to step down when he could not support his party leadership. Then came the imported Governor followed by a party ideologue Omer Sarfraz Cheema who refuses to bow down in the best party and national interests. Once this ‘Colonial Relic’ is shut down, a brief history of the place and its occupants can be published to separate the men who served from the boys who came to play.


The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be reached at fmaliks@hotmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space (GVS News).