A statement from Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that the federal government had removed Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar from his position and appointed Omar Sarfraz Cheema as his successor.
The announcement also came hours before a crucial session of the National Assembly on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as a sitting of the Punjab Assembly to elect a new leader of the house following Usman Buzdar’s resignation.
It was not immediately clear why the federal government decided to remove Sarwar and the information minister, who announced the development on Twitter, did not provide a reason.
At the time, the minister said that the new governor would be announced later. “According to the Constitution, the deputy speaker [of the Punjab Assembly] will be the acting governor,” he said.
Later, the information minister shared that Cheema, the PTI’s former information secretary, had been appointed the new Punjab governor.
PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan congratulated Cheema on his appointment and wished him luck. “[Cheema] is our old colleague and one of the ideological members of Imran Khan’s movement for justice party,” he said.
Sarwar is a former member of the British parliament and had abandoned his political career in Glasgow to serve in Pakistan in 2013. He had joined the PML-N and was made the Punjab governor after the party won the 2013 general elections in the center as well as in Punjab.
However, he had resigned from the Punjab governor’s office in January 2015 and immediately joined the PTI. In September 2018, he was sworn in as governor for a second term.
The sources privy to the development shared that Sarwar was blamed for persuading the Aleem Khan group to vote in favor of PML-N candidate Hamza Shahbaz. “The matter was raised by Pervaiz Elahi with PM Imran Khan which led to his ouster,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the new Punjab governor is one of the pioneer members of the PTI. He had joined the party in April 1996 and served as its central information secretary for five years as well as the chairman’s spokesperson for a brief stint in 2015. He has also served as the party’s deputy organizer of Punjab.
It may also be recalled that the information minister on Friday also shared that a plot to assassinate PM Imran Khan had been reported by security agencies so his security is heightened.
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