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July 3, 2020

PML-N irked as MPs meet Buzdar ‘sans permission’

Top Story

 
July 3, 2020

Ag Agencies

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was left red-faced on Thursday after members of the opposition — six of PML-N and one of PPP — in Punjab met provincial Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, which the party later said was “without its permission” and would act against them.

“Six of our Punjab Assembly members met Chief Minister Usman Buzdar,” PML-N politician Uzma Bukhari said in a press conference. Members of the party met Buzdar without the permission of the party’s leadership, she added, saying action was recommended against those lawmakers. She also revealed a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker met the Punjab Chief Minister.

The meetings came in the backdrop of intensifying acrimony between opposition parties and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), with the top leadership of PML-N, including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Asif, and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari regularly sniping at the government’s policies and repeatedly calling on the Prime Minister to step down. Bilawal had also threatened a vote of confidence in National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.

The PTI government has also been quick to respond, with information minister Shibli Faraz, PM’s aide Shahbaz Gill, and other cohorts firing back with their own barbs.

Earlier in the day, Punjab Assembly lawmakers from different districts met with Buzdar to discuss their constituencies, public welfare and development schemes. Geo News reported that the elected representatives apprised the Chief Minister of the issues within their constituencies.

The Chief Minister was said to have noted the suggestions of the members and gave them assurances that their issues would be resolved. “Noisy elements have been left behind,” Buzdar was quoted as saying in the meeting. “Naya Pakistan is moving forward under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.” Buzdar added: “We will not allow the dignity of public representatives to diminish.”

According to Geo News, the PML-N members who met Buzdar were Jalil Sharaqpuri, Chaudhry Ashraf Ansari, Nishat Daha, Ghiasuddin, Azhar Abbas and Faisal Khan Niazi. PPP’s Punjab Assembly member Ghazanfar Ali was also among those who called on the Punjab Chief Minister.

Following Bukhari’s press conference, PTI’s Sadaqat Abbasi said to her that “your party” was losing the battle. “Your members know that PML-N is not a political party but a family limited company. The purpose of such politics is only for personal gain.”

That same day, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal at a press conference termed the PTI government the “most corrupt in the history of the country” and said that there “is not going to be minus one, but it is going to be minus PTI”.

Regarding the sugar scandal, the former premier said sugar was procured by paying more than Rs8,300 per ton on the old tender, adding that the Supreme Court of Pakistan should take suo motu notice of the issue while his party would also file a petition.

He said: “There were so many chapters of corruption in the government that they will never end. The sugar problem has been going on in Pakistan for 21 months and sugar is being sold at the price of Rs85 but the government does not care.”

Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal said Prime Minister Imran Khan was “defaming Pakistan due to his ego” and the government’s performance has raised questions on every institution.

In a separate news conference, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said he saw the talks of PML-N leaders belonging to the “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi group” and then those of “Shahbaz Sharif” group, and now he expected that some leaders of the “Maryam Nawaz group” would also hold a presser.

He said none of the prime minister’s family members were part of the government unlike the PML-N regime, when the then-PM’s younger brother was the chief minister and the father-in-law of his daughter was the finance minister.