Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed satisfaction over the performance of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar on Saturday, amid speculation and unverified reports of the government thinking to replace the chief minister.
PM Imran met Buzdar today, where the two discussed the implementation of the smart lockdown strategy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The prime minister appreciated the Punjab government’s measures for curbing the disease and relief efforts for the public.
— Government of Punjab (@GOPunjabPK) July 18, 2020
The meeting came in the backdrop of government officials dismissing news of Buzdar’s removal on the basis of “below-par” performance.
Recently, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan threw weight behind the CM Punjab, saying Buzdar has been performing his responsibilities with skills and ease.
Claiming that the international media has been commending Buzdar’s performance, Chohan said: “Buzdar is the only chief minister who has come to the forefront to serve the people of the country.”
Likewise, Information Minister Shibli Faraz had refuted reports of Chief Minister Punjab Uzman Buzdar being stripped from his position, saying that he is “going nowhere”.
However, two days ago, a local TV channel, citing sources, had aired the news that the chief minister is being removed.
Subsequently, senior analyst Sohail Warraich, in a conversation with Geo Newsyesterday, said that interview-type meetings have been held to find a suitable replacement for the incumbent chief minister.
Warraich said that PM Imran was looking for a loyal chief minister, but one that delivers as well. “If a person is appointed on the premier’s behalf, chances are that he may belong to PTI.”
“Five names are being mulled over, and these [possible] candidates have been interviewed as well — without being informed that they were being considered for the position,” he said.
Despite PM Imran’s repeated support for the incumbent CM Punjab, Warraich said that stripping him of the position can be done easily.
Earlier, in January, sources informed Geo News that Prime Minister Imran Khan had outright refused to remove CM Buzdar, saying he knew who the conspirator behind the CM Punjab fiasco is.
The sources added that while addressing a meeting of the PTI members of the Punjab Assembly, PM Imran said Buzdar would remain the Punjab CM and he will “not be removed at any cost”.
Chaudhry slams Buzdar in PTI meeting
Prior to the premier’s remarks, in a meeting of the PTI’s core committee early this year, science minister Fawad Chaudhry had lashed out at Buzdar over the latter’s “failure to deliver”. He had also reportedly informed the premier that of the Rs350 billion allocated for Punjab’s development projects, the provincial government had only utilised Rs77 billion.
Sources had informed Geo News that Chaudhry also accused the Punjab government of not disbursing the finance commission award to the districts. In response to the accusations, the premier directed the provincial government to release the award, the sources had added.