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Imran Khan realised appointing Usman Buzdar as CM was a mistake: Zulfi Bukhari

There would have been a war within PTI if Buzdar was removed and Imran Khan did right by sticking with him, says Bukhari

PTI  leader Sayed Zulfi Bukhari addressing a session in SOAS. — Reporter
  • Zulfi Bukhari says decision to stick with Buzdar was right. 
  • Former SAPM condemns May 9 attacks on military installations.
  • Bukhari also distances himself and PTI from Farah Gogi.

LONDON: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s close aide Sayed Zulfi Bukhari has said that making Usman Buzdar chief minister of Punjab was a mistake of the party and that the former prime minister realised the mistake soon but had limited options to replace him.

Bukhari was speaking at the SOAS University of London on the topic of “Democracy in Crisis”, organised by SOAS Pakistan Discussion Forum. He spoke frankly for over two hours about the blunders made by the PTI during their nearly four-year stint in government and took critical questions from the students.

He claimed that when Imran Khan reflected on his time in power he realised that Usman Buzdar was not the right choice as Punjab chief minister but things got complicated politically as there were many groups of the party in Punjab who wanted to replace Buzdar.

“There was Aleem Khan group and other power groups. There would have been a war within the PTI if Buzdar was removed and Imran Khan did the right thing by sticking to him, to avoid the war within,” said Bukhari who now lives in London and has been campaigning for Imran Khan’s case on international media.

He said: “I don’t think he was a good chief minister and was able to perform and deliver. By the time calls against Buzdar grew after two years, it was too late and changing him after a year or two would have made the post a revolving door. Nobody would say Usman Buzdar was a good decision but we supported his decisions.”

Bukhari also distanced himself and the PTI from Farah Gogi who is former first lady Bushra Bibi’s best friend and confidante. He added that if the latest revelations about Gogi’s alleged corruption are true, and not just a media trial, then she should be dealt with strictly by the law.

When asked why Imran Khan defended her in the media, Bukhari said Khan was not aware of Gogi’s business and it was not for him to investigate her.

The former special assistant to PM also condemned the May 9 attacks on military installations.

“We have condemned all forms of violence, especially the attack on Jinnah House which has a sacred value. We have always stood against violence. Ordinary people say things in emotions. It’s the job of the leadership to positively tunnel their emotions towards a democratic process to bring about a real change. We are the biggest stakeholder being the biggest political party and we will get more losses than others in any such scenario,” said Bukhari.

However, the PTI leader said that they made many mistakes in the four years they ruled and if given another chance they would not repeat those mistakes as a different kind of leadership will be around, and not the likes of those who chose to ditch the party in difficult times.

Answering a question, Bukhari said that two people closest to Imran Khan during the PTI govt were behind making a false case against him.

“The Ring Road case against me was framed by two people who were then closest to Imran Khan: one of them (Azam Khan) has now become an approver against Khan and another (Shehzad Akbar) has left Pakistan. The purpose was to campaign against me. I resigned from my position and didn’t return to the government after that.”

Bukhari said the PTI was ready to talk to all political parties to find a way forward, including PML-N and PPP. But, he said, the PML-N was not interested as it saw PTI as a rival In Punjab and PPP had no such issue in Punjab.

“We want them to sit with us and talk about elections and democracy,” said the PTI leader.

Bukhari said this was his deliberate decision not to take part in PTI UK’s political activities because his participation could have consequences for the workers and leaders back home.

He said things initially were all fine between PTI and the army but issues started later on.

He said: “As far as General Bajwa is concerned, he could have suggested things to the PM and not dictate.”

Imran Khan’s former special assistant claimed that over 13,000 activists were arrested after May 9 and put in dire conditions but the rest have been released and around 7,000 remain in jails.

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