News Analysis |
PM Imran Khan has defended Sardar Usman Buzdar, his nomination for CM Punjab, through a video message broadcast by TV channels in the evening of Aug 17. Earlier the nomination was ridiculed by TV Anchors, political commentators and social media pundits. It remains to be seen if Khan’s bold defense of Buzdar will clam down the shrill criticism – coming mostly from Khan’s supporters.
Sardar Usman Buzdar is a former Tehsil Nazim Taunsa Sharif (Dera Ghazi Khan tribal area). An unfamiliar face, having no recognition in media has been elected as the member of Punjab assembly for the first time.
In 2013 general elections, he had contested the elections on the PML-N ticket and lost against the PPP candidate. He was part of PMLQ between 2002 and 2008. Buzdar has no proven track record of success or political contribution to PTI. He is the son of three times former MPA Sardar Fateh Muhammad Khan Buzdar. Sardar Buzdar contested the provincial elections from PP-286 Dera Ghazi Khan.
The emergence of Usman as the favorite to take on the slot means that Khan is looking for a politically weaker CM. Sardar Buzdar switched parties regularly and remained part of PML-N and PPP, however, he was unsuccessful.
He won his seat and secured 26897 votes against an independent candidate and former MPA Khawaja Muhammad Nizam ul Mehmood who obtained 18668 votes in July 25 elections. He was among the five PTI candidates who won out of a total 8 seats of Punjab Assembly in DG Khan. The expected selection of Usman as CM candidate shows that Imran Khan wants to bring totally new, potentially weak individual as CM Punjab, which means that he is inclined to run Punjab from Centre, but will this work? It can lead to several power blocs emerging inside Punjab & PTI Punjab.
Interestingly, the election of Pervez Elahi as Speaker Punjab Assembly has already put PTI on the back foot. In the backdrop of the developments in Punjab Assembly, where, 201 members voted for Elahi despite having only ‘184-member coalition’, the position of PML-Q can further consolidate. The PML-N legislators betrayed the party and voted in favor of PTI’s candidate.
The speculations are rife in the media that forward bock has emerged in the Punjab assembly and soon, it may reach the figure of 40. If this happens, it can even put Elahi in a very strong position to challenge Khan’s PTI for the position of CM. Ilahi is part of the grand power struggle in Punjab to somehow overcome or reduce the PML-N’s clout in the province. And the manner of Ilahi’s victory in Speaker’s elections has drawn first blood.
The expected selection of Usman as CM candidate shows that Imran Khan wants to bring totally new, potentially weak individual as CM Punjab, which means that he is inclined to run Punjab from Centre, but will this work? It can lead to several power blocs emerging inside Punjab & PTI Punjab.
In the presence of strong opposition from PML-N, and threat of PML-Q’s ascendency, PTI should nominate a strong CM. But PTI does not have a strong personality who can take forward the party without any hindrance. Finance and interior minister Punjab can also play a very important role in this regard. If PTI can choose some strong headed individuals for these slots to assist Sardar Buzdar, it may help him stand ground against the adversaries.
Otherwise, any unrest in Punjab may result in a storm in the center which Khan may find hard to tackle. The emergence of Usman as the favorite to take on the slot means that Khan is looking for a politically weaker CM. Sardar Buzdar switched parties regularly and remained part of PML-N and PPP, however, he was unsuccessful.
His victory in 2018 can be attributed to Khan’s popularity wave, which crossed him the winning line, finally. Since he was not seen with any of the bigwigs in the run-up to the elections, he can safely be termed as a non-entity. His affiliations with any of the groups within the PTI clan are unknown.