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Is PM Khan considering to change Punjab’s chief minister?


News Analysis |

Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for a meeting on Monday to provide an explanation over a bill seeking an increase in members’ salaries recently passed by the Punjab Assembly, local media reported.

A few days ago Punjab assembly unanimously passed a bill within five minutes which increased the salaries of the Chief Minister, Ministers, and MPAs to an incredible extent. According to the details “the speaker’s salary has jumped from Rs37,000 to Rs200,000 per month and his deputy would now get Rs185,000 instead of Rs35,000 and so would be cabinet members and advisors. The members (MPAs) are now entitled to Rs80,000 per month rather than Rs18,000 and their utility bills entitlement has gone up to Rs200,000 instead of earlier Rs120,000.”

After the matter was taken up by social media PM Khan expressed his sheer disappointment and termed the decision ‘untenable’.  Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry also labeled the development as ‘sham’.

There are now questions about the power dynamics in Punjab where the PM was not taken into confidence prior to an important monetary bill being presented before the assembly.

After the bill was presented and passed in the assembly, social media recorded historic protest. Cynthia D. Ritchie, Pakistan-based American Filmmaker, said “for those of us who were supportive – or at the very least HOPEFUL – of genuine #austerity measures, this is a HUGE disappointment. The SAME CM accused of having excess protocol/security convoy a few months ago is now accused of excessive salary increases. Bovine fertilizer!”

Many PTI’s admirers pointed out that if the government itself was not following the PM’s instructions to reduce their expenses who else shall be. It was also demanded by many social media users that the decision must be reversed. “Shame You @UsmanAKBuzdar. Shame on entire #PunjabAssembly for raising your own salaries. FOR TRIPLING THE SALARY OF THE #CM. Forgiving a house to the CM after retirement. A 2500 cc SUV. This is not gonna work with the ones who voted for you. THIS DECISION HAS TO BE REVERESED,” wrote a citizen.

Prominent anchor Kamran Shahid also asked a tough question, saying  “MR PM people of Pakistan dying of hunger and Punjab assembly led by your party passed bill 2enhance the salaries of MPA s THREE TIMES !!! will you ask them if they have shred of shame!! How could U sleep with calm tonight when your legislatures are sleeping on skeletons of poor !”

There are now questions about the power dynamics in Punjab where the PM was not taken into confidence prior to an important monetary bill being presented before the assembly. Political analysts argue that apparently CM Usman Buzdar was not taken on board rather he was just informed about the bill and its content.

Read more: Pay raise of Punjab Assembly members: PM Khan expresses disappointment

Moreover, it is also being speculated by some analysts like Haroon ur Rasheed of Dunya TV that the PM is considering to replace Buzdar with someone else who may ensure governance and the rule of law in Punjab. Since Mr. Buzdar remained unable to materialize the vision of PM Khan according to his expectations, therefore, a change may occur about the highest executive post of the province.

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