Farah Adeed |
Imran Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, has made the history as he has become the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 18th August. Imran Khan’s election in a scenario when two dominant political parties e.g. PML-N and PPP were ruling the country is itself a symbol of change. Imran Khan has promised to change the fate of Pakistan after coming into power. He is known for his anti-status quo, anti-corruption and anti-dynastic politics principles across the country. Imran Khan’s PTI has always blamed Bhuttos and Sharifs of massive corruption and misuse of their authority to fulfill their personal political interests.
However, Imran Khan’s idea of Naya Pakistan became questionable when he made the announcement about the new Chief Minister of KPK. It was expected that he will nominate a well-versed, progressive PTI’s diehard worker Atif Khan as the CM of KPK. But some of Khan’s aides did not want Atif to come into power and serve the people. Mehmood Khan was nominated and elected as Chief Minister of KPK.
“The special thing about Sardar Usman is that he is well acquainted with how people live in those areas and secondly, he is aware of how the poor lead their lives.
These days, PTI is facing criticism for its one more ‘poor’ choice to fill the post of CM Punjab. Let it be clear at the very outset that Punjab is ‘political heart of Pakistan’ and an unstable Punjab will never allow Imran Khan to remain stable in the Center. Punjab becomes even more important when seen in its current political composition where the PTI, the ruling party, has 123 seats and the opposition, the PML-N, has 129 seats. These numbers suggest the nature of Punjab assembly in the next two or three years. Obviously, the opposition will give tough times to the government which has some ‘self-centered’ allies as well.
Similarly, Imran Khan has decided to keep the Interior Ministry with himself to look into security matters very closely on daily basis. This suggests how busy he will be in these five years. When Imran’s focus will remain in the Center, he needs a reliable, competent and well-spoken person in Punjab who can manage political rivals and deal with a strong opposition independently.
Imran Khan has decided to give the post of CM Punjab to the less-developed region of Punjab, South Punjab. The man who has been blessed with the slot is none other than Sardar Usman Buzdar. Mr. Buzdar has been a part of PML-Q, PML-N and an ally of the president Musharraf. Before the general elections 2018, he decided to join the PTI. This clearly reflects that he has never been an ideological member of any political party but only a political opportunist.
According to media reports, Mr. Buzdar was involved in a murder case, tax evasion and accused in a NAB case. But let’s not get into it. The justification offered by Imran Khan for nominating Mr. Buzdar is very interesting. “He [Buzdar] belongs to an area of Punjab that is the most backward, people there have no water or electricity or hospital,” Imran had said.
Mr. Buzdar’s social and political background suggests that he is a wrong choice and the PTI is likely to pay a heavy price for a reckless decision.
“The special thing about Sardar Usman is that he is well acquainted with how people live in those areas and secondly, he is aware of how the poor lead their lives. When he will assume the office of the chief minister he will know the nature of the plight that faces the underprivileged people of Pakistan,” Imran Khan said.
I hope Imran Khan has read some literature on the politics of ethnicity in Pakistan. In the case of Sarakis, the problem has always been due to a self-centered political elite. Local elites never wanted their people to get an education or become prosperous. If the post of CM or PM was to make any difference then don’t forget about President, Prime Minister and several ministers who were from South Punjab and worked with different governments. These people never addressed the grievances of poor people.
Moreover, Sardar Usman is not a common man. He does not represent poor Saraikis in any way. He is the leader of a tribe and enjoys power. Imran Khan’s insistence that he belongs to a poor family is regrettable. Mr. Buzdar owns assets worth 25 million. It is not the individual post which will change the fate of the people of South Punjab rather there needs to be a comprehensive political package to upgrade the lives of people.
Furthermore, Mr. Buzdar does not know much about national politics and the games of narratives. He is a feudal lord who has been brought up in a particular culture where authority is revered. He is not trained to be a politician rather he has been socialized to remain a Sardar. He is not trained to get involved in dialogue and shake hands with his rivals. Feudal families have their own cultural traits and value system. They are never just politicians who understand the situation and change their roles accordingly.
How will he deal with a strong opposition in the province where he will have allies with him? Does he know how to rule a province? Will he be able to come out of his feudalistic background? What will happen if he remains uncompromising and insensitive to the political upheavals in the province? Will, he does not create problems for the PTI’s government in the Center? Mr. Buzdar’s social and political background suggests that he is a wrong choice and the PTI is likely to pay a heavy price for a reckless decision.
Farah Adeed is a Senior Research Analyst in GVS. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s Editorial Policy.