LONDON: Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has ordered the cancellation of the first ‘Overseas Global Convention’ of overseas Pakistanis to be held at Governor’s House Thursday (today) over differences within Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) groups.
Organisers said Wednesday that the convention was being canceled for “security reasons” but a trusted source in the Chief Minister’s Office told this reporter that Buzdar had ordered cancellation of the event because of differences over the way the event was being used for political purposes and personal projection.
A spokesman for the Overseas Punjab Commission had told this reporter that nearly 1,000 overseas Pakistanis from the UK, Europe, America and Middle East would be attending the event – the first of its kind.
The source close to the Punjab chief minister said that affairs related to the event were being used for projections of a “few groups” and many who had travelled to Pakistan were considered close to Governor Muhammad Sarwar. The source said that the Governor’s House was running affairs in a way which was contrary to the policies of the Punjab chief minister and only “like-minded people” were invited from overseas for personal projection.
The source said: “The Punjab chief minister gets intelligence reports from various sources. Evidence was shown to him that many people who were invited as main guests of the event defamed the Punjab chief minister in WhatsApp groups and social media.
They belong to a particular group which doesn’t align ideologically with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and criticises policies of Usman Buzdar who has full trust of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The governor’s remarks in London about the IMF taking over Pakistan have not gone down well in the power circles.”
Overseas Pakistani Commission Punjab’s Vice-Chairman Syed Makhdoom Tariq Ul Hassan had met Prime Minister Imran Khan last week and invited him to attend the convention. The PM had accepted the invitation and assured that he would address the convention. When asked if PM Khan was aware that the convention had been cancelled at the last minute, costing tens of thousands of dollars in expenses to hundreds who had travelled to Lahore to attend the convention, the Punjab government source said that the chief minister takes decisions on his own and takes the PM into confidence when needed.
The source said that Makhdoom Tariq Ul Hassan had done a great job since taking over around three months ago and the event cancellation had nothing to do with him and his department. The cancellation, said the source, has everything to do with some people trying to hijack the event to promote a certain group.
A source close to the Punjab governor has rejected the allegations and said that the event at the Governor’s House was booked by “the OPC and the Chief Minister’s Office” and this was not an initiative of the Governor’s House. “The Governor’s House is one of the most secure places in the country, we have no idea what the security issue was. A dinner event at the Governor’s House will be organised for those who have traveled to Pakistan from overseas as the convention has been canceled,” the source said.