Central leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former Punjab governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on Sunday severely criticised Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference at the Governor’s House hours after his sacking by the federal government, Sarwar blasted the government of Usman Buzdar, saying that corruption remained at its peak during his stint as the CM, and added that he was told to dissolve the assembly if Elahi failed to get enough votes to become the next chief executive of the province.
“The real conspiracy was the appointment of Usman Buzdar. It never happened in the whole history of Punjab what we saw in the tenure of Buzdar. The assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners were being appointed by giving bribe,” Sarwar said. It was the most hard-hitting press conference of the political career of Sarwar, who served as the governor of the largest province two times before saying goodbye to his politics in the UK.
On Sunday, he started his talk by recalling the services to the PTI before the 2018 general elections. “I organised rallies for Imran Khan while also visiting several constituencies for him before 2018 elections,” he said. He added that there were many in the race to become Punjab CM, including Aleem Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chaudhry Fawad and Sarwar himself, but Imran Khan believed that ‘Naya Pakistan’ could only be made by Buzdar. He was of the view that the whole party, including the federal cabinet, was against making Usman Buzdar the chief minister, but everyone remained silent because of their loyalty to Prime Minister Imran Khan. The workers of the PTI were really disturbed, as they remained unheard, he added.
Sarwar also lashed out at Punjab Assembly Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi, who is now vying for the office of CM. “I opposed the nomination of Parvez Elahi as PTI’s candidate for Punjab CM. It was a slap in the face of all 183 MPAs of our party in Punjab,” he said. “Imran Khan got blackmailed by a person who has just 9 MPAs and he [Elahi] used to talk against the prime minister in live TV interviews,” he added. According to Sarwar, Elahi kept telling the party leadership that if the election of Punjab CM was not held on April 2 then he would lose. “I was told by the prime minister to call the session of Punjab Assembly after April 3, but his conversation was a secret with me and I didn’t share it with Elahi,” he said.
“I am being accused of delaying the Punjab Assembly session deliberately and doing double-dealing on the opposition’s instructions,” he said. He was of the view that PML-Q was not happy with him. He added that he was then told to accept the resignation of Buzdar and call the session of Punjab Assembly on April 2. “Pervez Khattak asked me to sign a piece of paper in Islamabad to call the assembly session on April 2. I told him not to force me to do a sin at midnight,” he said.
Elahi was saying that he would not win if the elections were not held on April 2, Sarwar said. “I was also told to dissolve the Punjab Assembly if Parvez Elahi failed to get 186 votes, but I refused,” he said. He added that he refused to do any unconstitutional and illegal act.
“I’ll decide the future political strategy in consultation with party members, workers and overseas Pakistanis. My life and death are associated with Pakistan and I’ll do politics here,” he said. He further said that Elahi kept blackmailing the government during the last three years. There were four other provinces within Punjab, including Mandi Bahauddin, Gujrat, Chakwal and Bahawalpur where the PML-Q kept enjoying complete powers, Sarwar said.
To a question, Sarwar said that an independent foreign policy was the right of every country and “we also support it, but we should not confront any country”, including European countries and the US. “In fact, we need better bilateral ties with all countries. We must not forget what happened with people like Saddam Hussain and Muammar Gaddafi,” he added.
The former governor said he would not remain silent if the PTI attacked him, adding that he would respond in a befitting way. “I have many secrets in my heart,” he said.
According to Sarwar, he feared he would be labeled as part of an ‘international conspiracy’ by the PTI. It is worth mentioning here that Sarwar was the member of PTI’s 20-member Central Advisory Committee.