Usman Buzdar was elected chief minister of Punjab with 186 votes during the Punjab Assembly session on Sunday.
When the speaker announced the results, PML-N members protested in front of the dais, with many ripping up agenda papers. PTI members cheered Buzdar on.
The PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz lost the election with 159 votes.
Speaking during the session, Buzdar thanked the members of the house and said there are a lot of challenges in the province, but God willing he will take Imran Khan’s vision forward. He said there is poverty throughout Punjab and he hopes to develop the province. We will sustain the development in the developed areas and begin development in underprivileged areas, said Buzdar.
He included good governance, ending corruption, strengthening the police, strenghning the local government system and improving institutions as his main concerns. We all need to work together to improve Punjab, he said.
Buzdar thanked the opposition for taking part in this democratic process and said he would definitely take their suggestions into consideration. He ended his speech by thanking Prime Minister Imran Khan for nominating him.
The PTI’s Ammar Yasir presented a resolution in the Punjab Assembly against caricatures of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
Hamza Shehbaz recalled how people sacrificed for the country at the time of Partition. “People were killed in trains and deprived of their honour,” he said during his address. “Yet after 71 years, all the parties are crying foul about rigging in the elections. The people of Pakistan want answers.”
He said ballot papers were found lying strewn on the roads and under classroom desks.
“You would remember how terrorism affected this country,” he said. “Recently, ANP’s Haroon Bilour sahib was martyred. Pakistan has rendered numerous such sacrifices. Today, we are facing multiple challenges. Nawaz Sharif wanted to end load-shedding. Today, our enemy country says it will kill Pakistan of thirst. Kalabagh Dam became victim of politics. We could have had a bigger reservoir. Even today, if a consensus can be reached, the Kalabagh Dam should be built. Bhasha Dam was a dream. This assembly should be proud that we have acquired the land for the dam after spending Rs100 million. Pakistan will progress.”
There have been many vuzra-e-aala [chief ministers] but there will never be another khadim-e-aala [chief servant], he said of his father.
Nawaz Sharif was offered in 2013 that he could form the government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he said. “But he did not take the offer as the PTI had formed the majority,” he said.
We will not rest until rigging is taken care of, said Hamza Shehbaz. “Despite all hurdles, the PML-N emerged as the largest party in Punjab,” he said.
The session began at 12pm. Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is presiding over the session.
Instead of secret balloting, the 371 members of the assembly will divide into two groups. The group that forms a simple majority with 186 or more MPAs will be able to install its chief minister. A re-election will be held if a simple majority cannot be achieved.
The PML-N’s Hamza was elected on the PP-146 seat with 71,389 votes. He is the son of PML-N President and former Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif. The PML-N has emerged successful on 129 seats of the Punjab Assembly. With the backing of one independent candidate, 30 women seats and four minority seats, they enjoy the support of 164 MPAs.
The PTI’s candidate, Buzdar, was elected on Dera Ghazi Khan’s PP-286 seat with 27,027 votes. He is the son of tribal chieftain Sardar Fatah Muhammad Khan Buzdar. The PTI has secured victory on 119 seats of the Punjab Assembly. As many as 29 independent MPAs joined the PTI. With the backing of 33 women seats and four minority seats, the PTI has the support of 179 MPAs.
The PML-Q has seven general seats and two women seats. They also enjoy the backing of an independent candidate.
The PPP has six general seats and one women’s seat. The party has decided not to vote in the election for the chief minister.
There is one independent MPA who has joined the Pakistan Raah-e-Haq Party. Four other independent candidates have not announced their support for anyone.
A ‘criminal’ record
On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a Twitter video message that Buzdar is the “perfect candidate for the Punjab CM post”.
Later, reports surfaced that Buzdar was nominated in a case of six people’s murder 18 years ago. The case was settled after he paid the victim’s family blood money.
The verdict in the case was announced by an anti-terrorism court in Dera Ghazi Khan on January 1, 2000. The case against Buzdar was registered in 1998.
Buzdar, his father and brother are among other suspects mentioned in the FIR.
Also, it turns out that Buzdar is not as poor as Imran thinks he is.
According to documents that Buzdar submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan along with his nomination papers, he owns houses, plots and agriculture land of worth millions of rupees.
Speaking to SAMAA TV, Buzdar said the old case is unduly being highlighted. He denied paying the blood money. “My name was included in the case by some of my political opponents, but the case was investigated and the court acquitted me,” he said.