LAHORE - Dismissing reports of political change in Punjab, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday declared in categorical terms that Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar will continue to stay as the Chief Minister. 

“Usman Buzdar is the Chief Minister and shall remain so in future as well”, he stated while talking to Punjab Assembly members at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat here.

Prime minister reached Lahore on Sunday afternoon and had separate meetings with Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar, National Assembly members from Punjab and estranged members of the Punjab Assembly.

He also had a meeting with Punjab Chief Secretary Azam Suleman and Punjab IGP Shoaib Dastgir.

Stressing that Usman Buzdar would not be removed under any circumstances, the Prime Minister said: “If he is changed, then the new Chief Minister would also have to be changed soon”. 

Khan also told the Assembly members that new Chief Minister will not be able to stay for more than 20 days.

He pleaded that Usman Buzdar should remain Punjab Chief Minister to keep the provincial government intact.

Prime minister termed the talk of change in Punjab a conspiracy against the PTI government. He said that he knew who was behind this conspiracy.  “I know who is conspiring against the Chief Minister”, he said.  

Prime minister also insisted that Usman Buzdar was fully empowered to take decisions.

Khan dismissed it as a negative propaganda that he was not a powerful Chief Minister.

“Chief Minister is doing his work and Chief Secretary is doing his. There is no division of power”, he said, adding, that both the Chief Secretary and the IGP were working as members of Chief Minister’s team.

He said that some people were conspiring against the positive administrative changes brought about in Punjab, but they won’t succeed in their designs. “We have brought the best team in Punjab”, he said.  

Earlier, the Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister about the ongoing development projects and measures taken by the provincial government to overcome shortage of flour in the province. Usman Buzdar also briefed the Prime Minister that provincial government had released Rs 187 billion under the Annual Development Programme till January 22.

He said that Rs 107 billion had already been spent on different projects.

Buzdar further informed the Prime Minister that that provincial government had through amendment in rules made it impossible to utilise funds of backward areas in any other area by re-appropriation.

The Prime Minister directed to speed up work on development schemes for their completion.

Imran Khan further stated that provincial government should devise strategy to provide relief to the common man and the Provincial Ministers must also ensure good governance in their respective departments.

Prime Minister also directed the Chief Minister to strictly deal with the hoarders, profiteers and the land grabbers.

The Prime Minister reportedly asked the Chief Minister to make necessary preparations to hold Local Government elections.

“It is only through Local Bodies that peoples’ problems could be resolved”, he said. 

Prime Minister also had meeting with Punjab Chief Secretary Azam Suleman and IGP, Shoaib Dastgir and directed them to prepare well-coordinated strategy to ensure good governance in the province.

He also directed that police should make policy on law and order in consultation with the elected representatives. He also asked IGP to remain in contact with the Assembly members.

In a meeting with the estranged Punjab Assembly members, the members complained about police attitude and said that police will have to be made answerable. They also expressed their concern over rising crime especially dacoity incidents in the province.

Punjab IGP Shoaib Dastgir was also present in the meeting.

The estranged MPAs expressed confidence in the leadership of Usman Buzdar and clarified they had not formed any forward bloc or separate group in the Assembly.

Expressing his displeasure with the disgruntled members, the Prime Minister said that” Matters of home should remain within home”.

Prime Minister assured that all hurdles in the development schemes would be removed.

He also asked civil officers to pay due respect to the Assembly members.

One of the disgruntled Assembly members Imtiaz Lali told The Nation that they were satisfied with today’s meeting with the Prime Minister.

He said they have been assured about completion of development work in their constituencies.

He further informed that PM had instructed the Chief Secretary that local administration should resolve genuine problems of the elected representatives. 

Addressing members of the National Assembly from Punjab, the Prime Minister said that he was here to know the problems of their constituencies and to issue directions to remove the obstacles in the completion of development projects.

Imran Khan told the Assembly members that eradication of corruption was the main focus of PTI’s manifesto.

He said that an organised mafia was systematically at work to portray a negative image of the present government.

“It is for the first time in Punjab’s history that action has been taken against criminals and land grabbers”, he said.

Talking about the current state of economy, the Prime Minister said that country was out of the difficulties now. “Last year was a difficult year as the country was nearing default. But now the economy was stable”, he said, adding, that the country was heading in the right direction. He hoped that country would soon be out of the economic crisis.

“Ups and downs come in the lives of nations. We have to face the difficulties with courage”, he said.

He alleged that previous governments looted the country mercilessly.

He said that he knew who was behind the artificial shortage of flour.

Prime Minister also told the Assembly members that Sharif family and Asif Ali Zardari had no role in country’s politics.

He said that Sharif family had committed dacoity in Chaudhry sugar mill. He also criticised Shehbaz Sharif for spending billions of rupees on his personal publicity.  

Imran reportedly asked the Assembly members to highlight facts about the recent price-hike. People should be told that previous government was responsible for it.

He also directed them to keep constant liaison with the voters in their constituencies.

He asked Ministers to play role for redress of peoples grievances.

Also, the Prime Minister nominated Chief Whip in the National Assembly Malik Amer Dogar and MNA Amer Kayani as coordinators to coordinate between the Assembly members and the Punjab government on different issues. 

Talking about his Davos visit, Imran Khan said that investors from noted investment companies had shown interest to invest in Pakistan.

“The world now sees Pakistan as the most attractive county for investment”, he said.