Islamabad: Punjab’s sacked Governor and a senior leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar has blamed the federal government for issuing an ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ order of dissolving the Punjab Assembly. He said he refused to execute the order and paid a price for his ‘disobedience’.
The federal government sacked Governor Sarwar a night before the Punjab assembly session that was scheduled to be held on April 3 for picking the chief minister of the province.
However, the session was adjourned by the Deputy Speaker until April 6, after ruckus in the assembly. Another senior party functionary and Central Information Secretary of the PTI, Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, replaced Sarwar as the new governor of the province.
Immediately after his sacking, Sarwar addressed a hurriedly-called press conference and disclosed how he was ‘pressurised’ by the PM Khan and senior ministers Pervaiz Khattak and Shah Mehmood Qureshi to first immediately accept Buzdar’s resignation on April 1, then call the Punjab assembly session the very next day, and later dissolve the assembly.
“I was given a blank paper by Khattak to sign and convene the assembly’s session the same day or the government’s candidate Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi would not be able to win,” said Sarwar.
“While I called the assembly session on April 2, I received yet another call and was told that since Elahi was losing the required support in the assembly, I should prorogue the session and eventually dissolve the assembly,” disclosed Sarwar.
Law and constitution
He said he told Khan and the federal ministers that dissolving the assembly would be an illegal move and against the law and constitution of Pakistan, and thus sought time to consult lawyers. He added: “Before I could get advice, I was sacked.”
He also blamed himself for blindly following the prime minister’s orders without raising a word. “I deserve that treatment because I had signed an unconstitutional document ... As you sow, so shall you reap.”
Sarwar said Elahi was a poor choice for the top office in the Punjab Assembly.
“I had made it clear to the prime minister that Elahi was involved in blackmailing and unduly pressurising the PTI government in the province and he should not support a candidate who has only 10 votes in the Punjab Assembly while the PTI had 183 members.”
Sarwar also accused PM Khan of picking a poor and incompetent person for the biggest province (population over 100 million). “I am surprised that despite candidates like Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, Jahangir Khan Tareen, Aleem Khan, myself and many others, Khan could only find Usman Buzdar to steer the largest province towards ‘Naya Pakistan’.
“The entire PTI, people of the Punjab and even federal ministers kept pointing out what a poor choice Buzdar was for the post of chief minister, but it all fell on deaf ears,” said Sarwar. “Under Buzdar’s rule corruption in Punjab increased manifold.”