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Punjab CM not out of the woods yet

Tareen Group adamant on Buzdar's removal

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar is trying hard to save his provincial government but he is not out of danger so far.

The MPAs of Jehangir Khan Tareen (JKT) group are still adamant on their demand for his removal. Provincial Minister for School Education Dr. Murad Ras has held meetings with the JKT group but they have not yielded a positive result. On Thursday, Murad Ras and Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed held a detailed meeting with Chief Minister Buzdar and briefed him about their talks with the Tareen group.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan had tasked Murad Ras with winning back the MPAs of Tareen Group. Earlier, Minister for Defense Pervaiz Khattak had also talked with the JKT group through their representative Awn Chaudhry but no breakthrough could be achieved. “Our negotiations with the government can be successful only after the removal of Usman Buzdar,” said Awn Chaudhry on Thursday. He also said that their talks could be successful with the prime minister but they were still adamant on their demand of Buzdar’s removal.

It is worth mentioning here that Awn Chaudhry was once considered a close confidant of Imran Khan and also served as special assistant to chief minister Punjab. The JKT Group claims that it has the support of around two dozen lawmakers, including some ministers and advisors. As many as 17 MPAs hailing from the JKT Group did not attend the parliamentary party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan when he last visited Lahore.

The ministers of JKT Group also boycotted the cabinet meeting chaired by CM Buzdar. The group has two provincial ministers – Malik Nauman Langrial and Ajmal Cheema – and both are considered to be very close to Tareen. Although the group sits on the treasury benches in Punjab Assembly but it openly criticizes the policies and governance of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. It has not joined the opposition camp yet but the group members have held meetings with the leader of the opposition in Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shehbaz.

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The JKT Group members pledged their support to Hamza over the proposed no-trust motion against Buzdar when he visited them in Lahore.

The opposition is working on the no-confidence motion against CM Buzdar, which will be moved once the motion against Prime Minister Khan is decided upon in the National Assembly. Due to the ire of the JKT Group, Buzdar became active and held meetings with the MPAs. He held meetings with the MPAs on a daily basis last week but a number of lawmakers from Tareen group did not pay any heed to his calls.

A decisive meeting is scheduled today (Friday) in which Tareen Group may announce its next strategy. It is worth mentioning here that PML-Q has also expressed reservations over the performance of Buzdar time and again in Punjab despite the fact that it is part of the ruling coalition and has two provincial ministers in the cabinet. The Buzdar government can easily collapse if the Tareen Group or PML-Q withdraw their support to it as the ruling coalition has a very thin majority.

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