Buzdar reasserts control over Punjab affairs

LAHORE – Sardar Usman Ahmad Buzdar whose constitutional status as the chief executive of the province remains unclear in the presence of a chief minister-elect Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, has started reasserting control over Punjab affairs following a self-chosen seclusion of over a week.

Usman Buzdar suddenly sprang into action on Monday afternoon as he chaired a meeting on law-and-order situation attended by the chief secretary, the IGP, additional chief secretary home and chairman P&D.

Also, Usman Buzdar has set aside a letter written to the Advocate General Ahmad Awais by the provincial law secretary relieving him of his duties. In a letter addressed to the law secretary and written by Usman Buzdar’s personal staff officer, the acting chief minister has directed Ahmad Awais to continue working as the advocate general since the letter written to him by the law secretary was issued without his approval. The former Punjab Governor Ch Mohammad Sarwar had accepted his resignation on April 1 and directed him to continue to act as chief minister till the election of his successor.  Hamza Shahbaz was elected as new chief minister by the Punjab Assembly on April 16, and from that day onward, Usman Buzdar suspended his official engagements and retreated to his 7-club Road residence waiting for the new chief minister to take oath and assume his new responsibilities.

In the period following the election of Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Fazal and the IGP Rao Sardar Ali Khan have been calling the shots without any political oversight in an unusual situation where a chief minister-elect is waiting for his oath to be administered by the governor for the last 10 days. Going by the rigid interpretation of the relevant article of the Constitution, the incumbent chief minister can continue to act as the chief executive of the province till “election” of a new chief minister. Now as the election has taken place, Sardar Usman Buzdar has seemingly lost the constitutional power to remain as the chief minister. The PTI sources have, however, attributed Usman Buzdar’s renewed affirmation to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s increasing interference in the provincial matters. The prime minister on Sunday visited a health facility in Lahore which falls under the provincial domain and visited a Ramadan Bazar set up by the district government.

Chairs meeting on law, order attended by CS, IGP, Addl chief secretary and P&D chairman

Another thing which has irked the PTI leaders is the phenomenon of chief secretary and the IGP taking instructions from the prime minister. A recent transfer of CCPO Lahore Fayyaz Dev and his new assignment in the federal government is also being viewed in this perspective.

Meanwhile, Sardar Usman Buzdar while chairing a meeting directed the officers to ensure foolproof security of mosques, imambargahs and other places of worship along with indiscriminate action against criminals and protection of life and property of people. He was also briefed about progress on development schemes.

According to an official release, the meeting reviewed steps for providing relief to the masses including the execution of the Ramadan package. The chief minister directed to ensure the provision of eatables to buyers at affordable rates, adding that the benefits of the Ramadan package should reach the general public.

No leniency in the provision of quality edible to consumers would be tolerated and the relief process will be continued with full vigour.

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