LAHORE: On Sunday, Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), declined to disclose the identity of the party’s nominee for the highly sought-after position of Punjab’s chief minister. He said that revealing the name would cause competition among potential candidates.
Khan, a former prime minister, stated in an interview with a private news channel that he would appoint a chief minister capable of elevating the province after considering past errors. He also addressed the recent criticism he faced for the allocation of PTI tickets for the Punjab Assembly and explained why veteran party leaders such as Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, Hammad Azhar, and Shahbaz Gill were not granted tickets.
Last week, Khan approved PTI tickets for the provincial legislature, which ignited a heated discussion among party leaders and led to the restructuring of the review committee to investigate the issue. Fawad Chaudhry, a former federal minister, expressed his dissatisfaction with being denied a ticket and mentioned his surprise if Usman Buzdar were to be reappointed as chief minister given his record in the country’s largest province.
Khan clarified his decision, stating, “I need Shah Mahmood, Fawad Chaudhry, and Hammad Azhar in the Centre.” He further questioned who would be available for the Centre if everyone were sent to Punjab, emphasizing the importance of the federal government in running the country.
Regarding former chief minister Usman Buzdar, Khan explained that he was appointed chief minister in 2018 after three PTI factions emerged in Punjab. He also accused former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa of campaigning against Buzdar, with the intention of making Aleem Khan the chief minister of Punjab.
Khan additionally accused Aleem Khan of land grabbing, stating that the Lahore Development Authority presented evidence of his illegal occupation of lands in the city. As per the list issued by PTI, key contenders for the Punjab chief minister position in the event of a PTI victory in the provincial assembly elections include PTI President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former chief minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, and Mian Mehmoodul Rasheed.