LAHORE: Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, a former British MP, has given up his British nationality in the hopes of being appointed the next governor of the Punjab.
In an exclusive talk with The Express Tribune, Sarwar confirmed his interest in taking over as governor, while declaring no intention of becoming Pakistan’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom.
Sarwar said that he had given up his dual nationality on the direction of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership with the hopes of getting a chance to serve the country. He said that he had no interest in doing so while sitting in Britain, so the post of high commissioner was not his aim.
He admitted he would like to be appointed governor of the Punjab, but stressed that he had not been promised the position. He said he would meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif soon to discuss the matter. It was for the Sharif brothers to deploy his managerial and political skills where they saw fit, he said. “I would be happy to take on whatever role I am assigned within the country to serve the people,” he added.
He said that the PML-N leadership had yet to appoint governors in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and the Punjab and contest presidential elections, so there was much for them to do in the coming days.
He said that he did not know whether the governorship decision would be made before or after the presidential elections.
Some senior figures within the PML-N believe that the post of governor should go to a person from southern Punjab. Sarwar’s family is from Rojhani village in Faisalabad district.
Sarwar said that he had experience of working in the region. In 2010, when massive floods hit southern Punjab, he had visited the area for two months and built schools, mosques and some 300 homes.
Asked whether his experience in politics would be best utilised in the governorship, an office with no constitutional authority to run or govern the province, he said that he would not comment on this until and unless he was appointed to the post. Asked whether Nawaz Sharif or Shahbaz Sharif wanted him as governor, he declined to comment.
Sarwar served as Labour Member of Parliament for Glasgow from 1997 to 2000 and retired from British politics in 2010. His son Anas Sarwar now serves as MP from the same seat.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2013.
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