ISLAMABAD .: In a move that stunned political pundits, Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan nominated Sardar Usman Buzdar for the post of the Punjab chief minister on Friday.
Buzdar, who is from southern Punjab, had joined PTI just days before the July 25 general election.
Khan made the announcement through a video message.
Buzdar, considered a dark horse, was not among top picks tipped by the media since July 25.
His nomination shocked many political commentators mainly because he is a newcomer to the PTI and has remained affiliated with the PML-Q and PML-N in the recent past. His family heads the Buzdar tribe and his father has remained a lawmaker many times in the past.
Within PTI, Buzdar was considered a ‘weak candidate’ and party insiders insisted that his nomination indicated that someone else, perhaps Jehangir Khan Tareen, would actually run the affairs of the Punjab while remaining in the background.
Explaining reasons for his nomination, Imran Khan said: “Today, I have nominated Sardar Usman Buzdar as the (party’s) candidate (for the post of the) chief minister Punjab and I want to explain the reasons … to all of you,” said PM-elect.
Sardar Usman, he said, belonged to one of the most underdeveloped areas of the Punjab where people neither had (access to clean drinking) water nor (uninterrupted supply of) electricity or (properly-equipped) hospital.
According to him, the people’s lifestyle had not changed a bit since olden times, he said.
Imran Khan said that Buzdar mainly knew how the people were forced to live in such backward areas.
According to Imran Khan, he was the only parliamentarian “whose home had no electricity”.
Khan said that PTI’s vision was to uplift poor and backward areas.
“We believe in this vision and (express the) hope that the chief minister would honestly work brilliantly to implement our vision,” he said.
Buzdar, originally from Taunsa Sharif, had won the 2018 general elections from PP-286 (Dera Ghazi Khan-II).
He holds a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s degree in political science. His father, Fateh Muhammed Khan Buzdar, is the chief of the Buzdar tribe who remained an MPA thrice.
Earlier, he served as the tehsil nazim of Taunsa Sharif between 2002 and 2008 and was affiliated with the PML-Q at the time.
Later, he joined Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and contested the 2013 general election on a PML-N ticket but did not win.
Just prior to the 2018 general election, Buzdar first joined the Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz before joining PTI.