He likely to have a tough contest with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Hamza Shehbaz Sharif for the coveted office of chief minister of Punjab.
On Saturday, Buzdar was given a green signal by the Punjab Assembly Secretariat to contest the election following allegations that the PTI nominee had faced a corruption probe and was also acquitted in the murder of six persons in 1998 after allegedly paying blood money. Hamza Shehbaz’s nomination papers were also cleared by the assembly officials after scrutiny.
The PTI and its allies hold 185 seats in the 371-strong house, while the PML-N enjoys the support of 130 members. The PML-N has already lost the elections of the speaker and deputy speaker to the PTI-led alliance in Punjab. PML-Q’s Pervaiz Elahi and PTI’s Dost Mazari emerged victorious in the elections, respectively.
Hamza’s chances to bag the office vacated by his father, Shehbaz Sharif, have become bleak after the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) announced that it will abstain from voting for the PML-N candidates for prime minister and Punjab chief minister. Although the PPP has only six lawmakers in the House, its withdrawal of support to the PML-N has already dealt a severe blow to the fragile coalition of at least 11 opposition parties.
However, PML-N leader Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman claimed that his party has secured the support of as many as 159 members for the election of Punjab CM.
“We need support of as many as 161 members, our two members have gone for Hajj but the independent members are with us,” he told reporters.
Rehman said that the party has come to know about a few of its members who voted for Pervaiz Elahi for speaker’s election. “We will get to know about the others in a few days,” he added.
The PML-N leader claimed that Usman Buzdar won’t be able to retain the CM’s office for long even if he were elected.