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Why CM Buzdar survived so far?


Why PM Imran Khan still supports him?


Despite the mounting pressure on PM Imran Khan to replace Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar both from within and outside the party- he continues to support his hand-picked man for this key position. The coveted position of CM Punjab is considered as the most important political position after the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Imran Khan is still supporting CM Buzdar and not ready to oust him.
Despite powerful opposition within PTI – Sardar Usman Buzdar has survived so far. He is also facing hostile media which continue to compare him with Shahbaz Sharif. Surprisingly- he has survived longer than most of the political analysts believed he would.

It seems that his weakness has become his strength. He is politically weak and has no strong support base in PTI. He has to rely on the support and backing of PM Imran Khan. He has no other option but to listen to his political boss. He is not in a position to pose any serious political challenge to PM Imran Khan. So PM Imran Khan can make decisions regarding Punjab without much resistance. In the presence of a weak CM like Buzdar-PM Imran Khan continue to call shots in Punjab. He wants to keep tight grip on Punjab.    
The main reason that enables CM Buzdar to survive so far is the serious concerns of PM Imran Khan regarding the infighting of powerful groups within PTI. The infighting between Jahangir Tareen and Shah Mehmood Qureshi to maintain their maximum influence is known to everyone. So many times- both leaders publicly oppose each other.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi wants to become the CM Punjab. Jahangir Tareen opposed his name for CM Punjab. Both groups bitterly fought the internal party election in Punjab. The situation becomes so tense that Imran Khan had to intervene to control the situation.

There is some other power players within PTI who did tried to take advantage of the infighting between the two most powerful groups. Imran Khan was worried in this situation of a split in the party if he gives CM slot to any group. So he chooses Buzdar as an outsider who has no support base and group in the PTI.
So Imran khan will be forced to find another person like Usman Buzdar to replace him. So he is not ready to take any risk in this situation. PM Imran Khan is not ready to give powerful lobbies and groups within PTI to start maneuvering against each other. So Imran Khan is keeping the Usman Buzdar as CM to avoid this kind of situation which can jeopardise the PTI rule in Punjab.

The other reason is PML-Q.Chaudhris of Gujrat also wants a weak CM Punjab so they can take political advantage in some districts to strengthen their electoral base. They are supporting CM Usman Buzdar for their own political interests. PML-Q knows that PTI government in Punjab couldn’t survive without their support. So they will continue to put more pressure on PTI leadership to concede further on their demands. A strong PTI Chief Minister is not in the interest of PML-Q.  
These factors are helping the CM Usman Buzdar to survive so far. But the question is how far this can continue. PTI will continue to lose support among the urban voters in Lahore and Faisalabad. The PTI leadership is facing a difficult choice to make. Replace Buzdar and start new power struggle in the party or continue to lose urban support base.   
                                                                                  Khalid Bhatti

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