‘No big deal’: Sarwar plays down PML-Q leader’s remarks


–Punjab governor brushes off ‘control Sarwar’ remark, says ‘such talks happen even in families’

–Promises to take allies on board and address their grievances 

FAISALABAD: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on Sunday played down the remarks made by a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader who was caught on tape criticising him during a closed-door meeting between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allies a day ago.

On Saturday, a ‘leaked’ video of a meeting recently held between senior PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Federal Minister for Housing Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema with PTI senior leader Jahangir Khan Tareen shows Cheema asking Tareen to “control Sarwar”.

“Sir, control Sarwar! He will not let your chief minister continue,” Cheema can be heard saying to Tareen. Elahi can be heard repeating the same: “Control this Sarwar.”

Speaking to media on Sunday, Sarwar said PML-Q was an ally and “such talks happened even in families”.

The governor, while commenting on the exchange between PTI’s Jahangir Tareen and PML-Q leaders, said that “it is no big deal”, adding that “PML-Q is an allied party of PTI, such talks happen even in families. [I] have very good relations with the Chaudhry brothers”.

The provincial governor went on to say that any grievances of the allied party should be paid heed to. “The PTI government is transparent and all its ministers, including the prime minister, are open for accountability.”

Any talk of differences within the government ranks was baseless, he added.

In a separate address, he said the PTI government in Punjab will take all its allies onboard in the decision-making process for strengthening democracy and national institutions in the country


About the upcoming Senate elections on two Punjab seats, he said that Waleed Iqbal and Seemi Ezdi of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would win these seats with the support of coalition partners, including the PML-Q.

About the 100-day performance of the Punjab government, he said Rome was not built in a day, adding that the mess created due to mismanagement of the previous political regimes during the past 70 years which could not be cleared overnight.

He said that accountability was vital for establishing a corruption-free society, adding that the PTI leadership including Prime Minister Imran Khan had presented itself for accountability.

He urged for the private-public partnership, adding that philanthropists must come forward and play their role in installation of water filtration plants for a healthy society. It is not possible for the governments to take all the financial burdens, he stated.

Addressing a workers’ convention in Faisalabad, the governor said that all ministers were making efforts for bringing improvement in the performance of their respective departments to provide relief to people. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was monitoring the performance of ministers and also guides them about the government priorities from time to time for completion of 100 days plan.

The governor said that he had learnt from his 40-year political experience that political parties which did not give respect and importance to its workers could never survive.

He said that he would soon call the party workers for tea at Governor’s House and listen to their problems.

He urged the parliamentarians to give priority to redressing issues of the party workers. He said that there were a number of problems in industrial city Faisalabad due to wrong policies of the past governments and textile sector faced severe crisis and failed to achieve export targets.

He, however, said that Faisalabad would be made the Manchester of Pakistan once again by taking all stakeholders on-board.

The governor said that door of his office was always open for the workers, adding that he as a worker, knows their difficulties and problems.

He said that ministers and other participants attending the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, were independent in expressing their views. He said that bureaucracy had also been directed to take measures for solving problems of people.

On Saturday, reacting to a question over the video, Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said the footage and Cheema’s words were being taken “out of context”.

“The centre of power according to the law and constitution is Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the CM’s Secretariat. All ministers stand with the chief minister and are working under his leadership,” he had said. “There are apprehensions and reservations which were being conveyed to the leadership, which is what Tariq Cheema was doing during the meeting,” Chohan had said, adding that needless hype should not be created around the statement.

He had said that Elahi and other allies of the PTI were working with his party as well as CM Buzdar.

“There are differences in politics which are minor issues. Cheema was speaking on this [differences] which is not a big deal. This doesn’t mean that the chief minister is weak,” he had said.

PM Imran Khan also took notice of the incident, media reports said, adding that he is expected to call a meeting of his party’s provincial leaders, lawmakers along with PML-Q leadership to end the differences between the coalition partners.

Just hours after the leaked video gave rise to speculations, Governor Sarwar and PML-Q chief Elahi talked to each other over the phone and vowed to strengthen cooperation as coalition partners.

According to media reports, the Punjab governor and Punjab Assembly speaker agreed to enhance cooperation between the two parties and strengthen the PTI government in Punjab and Centre.