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Punjab gets another ‘great administrator’

"Success in local elections guarantees the popularity of any party and its success in the general elections. Hamza Shahbaz will have to organize his party at grass root level for the next elections"

April 30 was a tumultuous day in Punjab politics when Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif was sworn in as the 21st chief minister of the largest province in a ceremony held inside the Governor’s House in Lahore. To administer oath from the newly-elected chief minister, Speaker of National Assembly Raja Parvez Ashraf reached Lahore by a special plane and carried out the order of the Lahore High Court.

Hamza Shahbaz is the third member of his family to hold the post of the provincial chief executive. In the current political context, this post is not a bed of roses and he will face various challenges. Hamza Shahbaz is a graduate of the prestigious Government College University of Lahore. The imprint of this great educational institution can be seen in his personality. Hussain Nawaz Sharif was our classmate and Hamza Shahbaz was senior.

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The friend circles of Hamza Shahbaz and Hussain Nawaz were different. Hussain Nawaz was going with a slow temper while Hamza Shahbaz could be seen to play at the front foot. It remains to be seen how Hamza Shahbaz uses his temperament as the chief minister. He is facing many challenges in the chief minister’s office.

Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema was nominated by the outgoing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and he not only avoided to administer the oath from Hamza Shahbaz, but rejected the resignation of former chief minister Usman Buzdar and ‘restored’ the cabinet. It is not out of the question for the governor to create further constitutional and political complications for the new chief minister. According to the order of the Lahore High Court, Hamza Shahbaz has taken oath as chief minister. An intra-court appeal was lodged against the decision which will be heard by a larger bench after Eid.

This appeal is also a ‘sword’ hanging over the head of the new chief minister. Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi is a well-versed politician and can give a ‘tough time’ to Hamza Shahbaz. Elahi himself was a candidate for the post of the chief minister. It is pertinent to mention that 26 members of the former ruling party voted for Hamza Shahbaz in the election of the chief minister. The process of de-seating these 26 members has been initiated by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

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Although, the recommendation to remove the governor has been sent by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, it is at the discretion of the president to accept this recommendation. If Governor Omar Cheema asks Hamza Shahbaz to take a vote of confidence from the assembly after the ‘ouster’ of the 26 dissident members, then it may be difficult for the new chief minister to maintain his position.

Holding local body elections in Punjab is also a challenge for the chief minister. Success in local elections guarantees the popularity of any party and its success in the general elections. The court battle is in its place. But if the PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid members resign from the Punjab Assembly, it will not be easy to work with the ‘hollow assembly’ and as a result new elections will have to be held.

Hamza Shahbaz will have to organize the party at the grass roots level for the next elections. The situation of the father as the prime minister and the son as the chief minister is obviously fascinating, but it also means that the opponents are ‘justified’ in their propaganda. In political matters, Hamza Shehbaz was closer to his uncle than his father and Nawaz Sharif also paid special attention to his political training.

It is also an interesting coincidence that despite being in the elder Sharif’s training, he followed in his father’s footsteps in terms of temperament and emerged as a ‘great administrator’ like him. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif tried to make Hamza a good politician. He also played a significant role in politics, but his personality is still an extension of his father’s.

The brilliant performance of Shehbaz Sharif in the government and the politics was carried forward by Hamza Shahbaz with full confidence and enthusiasm. In comparison, Maryam Nawaz’s charismatic personality makes it clear that she is a complete politician and crowd-puller like her father. This division of temperament and character between Hamza and Maryam is very important and significant. This difference in the moods of Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz turned a definite loss of Sharif family politics into an advantage.

There is a natural rivalry between cousins for their performances. The competition between the two for performance has been visible, but at the same time, their natural abilities have overpowered them and their attention has been drawn to the fields of their choice, according to their own temperament. In this way, there would be an increase in efficiency.

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