Former Britain MP, Muhammad Sarwar, resigned from the position of Governor Punjab on Thursday. While sharing his reasons during a press conference, the former governor claims that he was unable to serve the masses and believed that he would be able to “serve Pakistan better out of office.” It is rather surprising that Mr Sarwar, who is a seasoned politician, was unaware of the well-known fact that governorship in Pakistan is a ceremonial position. This is especially true for Punjab, where Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif jealously guards his many powers, leaving persons occupying other portfolios very little room to maneuver. Mr. Sarwar’s speech seemed to suggest he had only discovered this reality after taking charge, which is a bit hard to believe considering how well acquainted he is with constitutional and political realities. It is possible that he was promised a more proactive and powerful role as Punjab Governor but the PML-N leadership failed to keep that promise, prompting him to resign. It has also been suggested that things had turned sour between him and the Sharif brothers due to the former’s inability to persuade PAT chief Tahir-ul-Qadri to put off the sit-in in Islamabad. Some in the media accused Mr Sarwar of playing a double game in the Qadri-Imran issue, but none of these accusations were ever substantiated with concrete evidence or facts and therefore ought to be disregarded as mere conjecture.

In his speech, Mr Sarwar advised workers of all political parties to realize their power and speak truth before their leadership regardless of how unpleasant it may seem. He lamented that political workers in Pakistan are not acknowledged for their services and continue to be marginalized by the rich and powerful members of the party. This criticism appears to be directed at the ruling PML-N, whose leadership – the Sharif brothers – is notorious for holding a monopoly over power and treating politics as a family-owned business. Mr Sarwar said that without local government elections, Pakistan couldn’t hope to reap the fruits of democracy. He promised to campaign for the cause, which may put him at odds with the PML-N leadership in the days ahead since the party favours consolidation of power over devolution. He also revealed that land grabbing had become a menace in the country, and he, as Punjab Governor, was unable to address the concerns of those affected by it. He admitted that the land mafia is more powerful than a sitting governor of the largest province of the country. Such remarks ought to be taken seriously, as there is a strong impression of collusion between politicians and land grabbers aka real estate developers. The former governor has promised to stay in Pakistan and work for the betterment of the country. Only time will reveal what the future holds for him.