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Why is Prime Minister Imran Khan reluctant to replace CM Buzdar?

Despite insistence of senior party leaders, PM Imran Khan is not willing to replace CM Usman Buzdar irrespective of the latter’s dismaying performance the province. Why does Imran Khan want Buzdar to stay in office?

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Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again defended Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and reiterated not to replace him. Earlier there were some reports which suggested a big change in the province due to the chief minister’s inability to accommodate allies and deal with bureaucracy to ensure better governance. However, PM Imran appears to be confident about CM Buzdar.

https://twitter.com/MusarratCheema/status/1221428490421067779?s=20

Addressing a meeting of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) MPAs and MNAs from Punjab on Sunday, the premier said that he knew who was conspiring behind the chief minister’s back. “That person wants the provincial government’s top slot for himself,” he added.

It is important to note that Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on last Friday criticized the “availability of discretionary funds to chief ministers”, saying such a practice was “against public interest” and a violation of Article 140-A of the constitution.

Read more: Why is it necessary to replace Chief Minister Usman Buzdar?

In a tweet, Fawad said that the problem was not with the Punjab government, but the way resources were being distributed. “The way federation distributes funds among provinces, the same way funds should be distributed among districts (of a province). [However] chief ministers act like monarchs which goes against the public interest,” the minister stated.

Similarly, over 20 MPAs had formed a forward bloc in Punjab because they were not happy with Buzdar who, they said, had reshuffled the provincial bureaucracy without taking them into confidence and did not release development funds either.

PM Imran said that if he removes the incumbent chief minister, a new precedent will be set and his replacement would not even survive 20 days because he too would be forced out in a similar manner. “There was negative propaganda in the past few days that Buzdar does not have the required authority. He has complete authority in the province and the new chief secretary and inspector-general will work with him as part of his team,” he added.

Read more: After Fawad fiasco, Will Usman Buzdar finally be replaced?

Political analysts and opinion makers believe that the PML-Q wants two things to be done at the outset; a) Chief Minister Usman Buzdar should not be replaced; b) Prime Minister Imran Khan must not intervene into provincial affairs. If accepted, these two demands will make the PML-Q the most powerful force in Punjab. Previously, there was reported tussle between governor Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, and Chaudhry brothers over who runs the province. This is one the reasons that PM Imran does not want to replace the incumbent CM.

The premier also blamed his political rivals for spreading confusion to protect themselves and their looted money. “Elimination of corruption is the manifesto of our political party. An organized mafia is promoting a negative impression against the government among nationals and the same people, who were misleading the nation for the last many decades, are now seen spreading confusion,” he added.

Media is campaigning that Usman Buzdar has failed as a CM and is running Punjab with a bad governance policy, therefore he needs to be replaced immediately

Media ‘exposes’ Buzdar, Khan always defends his choice

Media and Buzdar share a complicated relationship. Every time the media has built a strong campaign against CM, PM has jumped to his support and backed him on his decisions. The recent campaign being the failure of CM to curb Dengue in Punjab. Hundreds of cases emerged, and the outbreak claimed several lives.

Furthermore, police brutality is rampant in Punjab and goes unchecked. The case of Salahuddin is the most recent example where inhumane torture by Punjab Police claimed the life of a person involved in an ATM robbery.

Media is campaigning that Usman Buzdar has failed as a CM and is running Punjab with a bad governance policy, therefore he needs to be replaced immediately. But PM Khan came to Buzdar’s rescue and lent his political support to CM Punjab and saved him from the quagmire.

Notably, the PTI’s coalition partners — Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) — have already expressed their reservations over their alliance with the ruling party, compelling the prime minister to form a committee of senior PTI leaders to appease the allied parties.

Read more: Has PM Imran decided to replace Usman Buzdar?

It is yet to be seen how long the premier shall continue to offer his support to CM Punjab who has apparently failed to perform according to people’s expectations.

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