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Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar resigned

30 January, 2015

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LAHORE: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar resigned from his office on Thursday 29,January,2015, arguing that he had not been able to achieve his goal of the betterment of Pakistani society and failed to bring change in the common man's life.

Sources in the PML-N said that the party leadership had asked the governor to tender his resignation over his statements regarding the American president's decision not to visit Pakistan despite visiting the neighbouring India, and some other unspecified issues. Sarwar had earlier said that Obama's visit of India while denying Pakistan the same was a failure of the country's foreign policy. Meanwhile, following Sarwar's resignation five candidates are being considered by the PML-N for the post of Punjab governor.

Those being considered for the post are: Provincial Population Welfare Minister Zakia Shahnawaz, PML-N Lahore President Pervaiz Malik, Khawaja Ahmed Hassan, Saud Majeed and Chaudhry Jafir Iqbal. Sarwar said that he had been already informed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah about his resignation. He also denied that the Presidency had asked for his resignation and that he had been told to explain his statements.

Sarwar said that the government had failed in the sector of education and health, and noted that 23 million children were out of school and half the population of the country lacks sources of clean water. He said that he wanted to see that democracy in the country in which everyone gets equal rights and is treated equally, and where the rule of law is supreme. Sarwar said that he was thankful to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif "for providing him the opportunity to serve the masses".

After the press conference, Sarwar shifted into his personal residence in Defence without protocol. Addressing media persons there he said that he simply could not turn a blind eye to the wrongdoings in society. In a stark admission he said that the land mafia in the country is more powerful than the governor of a province, but despite this he sees a bright future for Pakistan. Sarwar was appointed as the 35th governor of Punjab in August 2013 after the PML-N won the general election. He gave up his British nationality after being offered the governorship of Punjab. He has been a former British MP.

On a summary initiated by the Cabinet Division, President Mamnoon Hussain has approved the prime minister's advice for acceptance of the resignation of Sarwar. While commenting on the resignation, PPP Central Punjab President Mian Manzoor Wattoo said in a statement that he himself had tendered resignation from the position because he wielded no power and was "helpless in the face of exclusive style of governance of the Punjab chief minister. He said that the press conference of Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar "amplified his helplessness".

He said that Chaudhry Sarwar had been urging the government to hold local bodies elections, provide education to 23 million out-of-school children and ensure clean drinking water to the masses, but his attempts to persuade the top leadership of the province fell on deaf ears. He observed that the outgoing Punjab governor had rightly pointed out the failure of diplomacy of Pakistan, as the American president visited India twice, but Pakistan not once despite the fact that the country had faced the brunt of terrorism as a frontline state in America's "war on terror".

"He was right that the government has failed to sensitise the US administration about the amount of sacrifices and sufferings of the Pakistani nation during the war on terror," he added. Wattoo said that the people of Pakistan are fed up with the present government due to the day-to-today crises, and that all their hopes of any improvement have been dashed. "The miseries of load shedding of gas and electricity along with the disappearing of the petrol during the last week exposed the height of mismanagement and inaptness of the government, as it could not anticipate the supply and demand of these essential services well in advance."

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