LAHORE: For the first time in 10 years, a Punjab chief minister, other than a person from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, took oath of his office. Acting provincial governor Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi administered the oath to PTI’s Sardar Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar on Monday.
The ceremony, held at the Governor House, was attended by the PTI leadership, outgoing Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi, members of the provincial assembly, representatives of the armed forces, social activists and others.
After the ceremony, the newly-elected CM paid a visit to his official office where officers and staff members welcomed him. He took the opportunity to conduct a short introductory meeting with his new officers. He was also given guard of honour by police contingents present at the scene.
Governor-elect Chaudhry Muhamamd Sarwar, ministers of the caretaker cabinet, MPAs from the southern Punjab, former opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, Aleem Khan, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Waleed Iqbal and others were also present on the occasion. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Syed Kaleem Imam was another one of those in attendance.
Buzdar’s nomination raised many an eyebrow within PTI’s ranks and outside, but Prime Minister Imran Khan extended his full support to the candidate. On August 19, the Punjab Assembly resonated with slogans after Usman Buzdar grabbed 186 votes for the CM slot, defeating PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz Sharif who took 159.
The CM delivered a short speech, which lasted just four minutes, on the floor of the house. He vowed to make every effort to alleviate the problems and the suffering of the poor masses across the province. Buzdar took the time out to shed light over his nomination by the PTI leadership. The CM said he was chosen as he belonged to a less developed area of Punjab. Speaking in a seemingly relaxed mood, Buzdar vowed to put an end to the status quo. He said that he and the PTI leadership were not daunted by the problems faced by the people of the province. Buzdar was confident that the new government would be able to resolve matters on an immediate basis.
“Good governance is our priority. The police department will be in much better condition, just like K-P. Institutions will be made stronger,” he said. The CM also added that corruption would be eliminated. He said there were a lot of issues, faced by the masses, which needed immediate resolution. He assured that tacking all such matters would be on top of his party’s priority list.
He said the provincial government would lay its foundations based on Prime Minster Imran Khan’s vision and put the country on the path to progress. He said that MPAs of the provincial assembly would be empowered enough to be the “chief ministers of their respective constituencies”.
He thanked the treasury and opposition benches for taking part in the democratic process. He assured that the government would introduce a solid team of ministers who would take the country towards progress. Buzdar said he would be open to positive and meaningful suggestions from the opposition. Some legislators termed Buzdar’s speech ‘probably the shortest’ made by any CM in the House.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2018.