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Punjab CM choice a test of Imran’s political acumen

First time for Pakistan’s Punjab province to have a chief minister from such a neglected area, PM says

Islamabad: Prior to Sardar Usman Buzdar’s election as chief minister of Punjab, in the provincial assembly on Sunday, his candidature for the office was a subject of heated debate on Pakistan’s TV talk shows, in politicians’ private meetings as well as the various assemblies.

However, having been duly elected to the post, the big questions being asked now were: Will he be able to deliver; and can he do justice to a position that was held by PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif for around ten years, about which he touted his performance as the biggest election campaign slogan of 2018?

Imran Khan, sensing simmering dissent within his own party’s ranks about his naming Buzdar as PTI candidate, had defended his choice in a video message and in a number of tweets, effectively silencing any opposition.

“I have done my due diligence over the past two weeks and have found him to be an honest man. He has an integrity and stands by my vision and ideology of Naya Pakistan,” Khan posted on twitter immediately after winning vote of confidence by the National Assembly Friday evening.

In a second tweet, Khan said: “Usman comes from one of the most backward areas of Punjab — the tribal area of DG Khan Division. It is an area that has neither electricity, water nor a doctor for more than 200,000 people.

“He understands the problems of the people of neglected areas & will be able to ensure their uplift as CM,” Khan further said on twitter.

Khan did not stop at the second tweet. He had to post a third one as social media trends continued to show dissidents questioning his political acumen in selection of little known Buzdar.

In the third tweet, he wrote, “This is the first time that Punjab would have a chief minister from such a neglected area, who is acutely aware of what to be done there.”

He added: “I fully back him all the way.”

Speaker of the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi after election of Buzdar from the Assembly as Leader of the House Sunday also came to his defence saying, “A poor man has been made chief minister of the Punjab. We should support him.”

Buzadr is an advocate and a landlord by profession. Born in May 1969, in the tribal stretch of Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab, he is the eldest of five brothers and sisters.

He received his early education from his family village, Barthi, he later did his Masters in Political Science from Multan’s Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU). He also has an LLB.

Sardar Fateh Mohammad Khan Buzdar, his father, earlier served as a Grade 14 teacher at a local school, but soon quit teaching for politics.

He was elected to the provincial assembly three times from Dera Ghazi Khan between 1985 and 2013 as a member on the Pakistan Muslim League-Q ticket.

Usman Buzdar also served as Tehsil Nazim of Taunsa Sharif in Musharraf’s era. In 2013 elections, he contested on PML-N ticket but could not succeed. Days before July 25 elections, he joined Janoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz (Alliance for South Punjab) and then formally joined PTI.

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