Mohammed Sarwar quits as Punjab governor

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) The move comes days after he called out the federal government for failing to enter partnership with the United States government as he said India had done.

Islamabad: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammed Sarwar resigned from his post on Thursday following a conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over statements the governor had made regarding the government’s foreign policy.

The outspoken governor who embarrassed the Sharif government by making controversial populist statements this week described US President Obama’s unwillingness to extend his latest New Delhi visit to Islamabad as failure of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

In an attempt to control damage the government claimed that Sarwar was asked to submit his resignation. “Unfortunately truth is in scarce supply in this country” Sarwar said adding: “Nobody asked me to resign”.

He said he had told Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif a few weeks ago that he wanted to resign.

Sarwar said the country’s political system had failed ordinary people and served “only the elite class”.

The move comes days after he called out the federal government for failing to enter partnership with the United States government as he said India had done.

Addressing a Press conference Sarwar said “We have no objection to Obama’s India visit but Obama should have treated Pakistan equally and visited to express solidarity.”

Sarwar emphasised that it is his dream to work for the people of Pakistan but he had failed to serve this purpose as Punjab governor.

He further said that injustice and problems of the poor were on the rise in Pakistan adding that he wanted to see a democracy in Pakistan where everyone had equal rights.

He added that he can help the masses more effectively away from the governor house explaining that the decision to resign had nothing to do with the Sharif brothers.

“I can serve Pakistan better out of office” he said. “I will live and die in Pakistan.”

Sarwar was the first Muslim and Pakistani elected as British MP in 1996 and served in that position for two more terms before being chosen by Nawaz Sharif to be Punjab governor. He gave up British nationality before assuming the new office.

Sarwar further said that he wants to continue to help Pakistan in creating such a society where progress can be ensured for all the masses.

“It’s time to wake up” he said addressing political parties adding that out-of-school children lack of access to clean water threats to minorities are issues plaguing Pakistan. He also vowed to campaign aggressively for local government elections in all the provinces.

One of Sarwar’s senior staff said the governor had tendered his resignation on Wednesday night before announcing it on Thursday.

“The former governor left the Governor House immediately after the Press conference as a house was rented for him this morning” the staffer said.

At his Press conference Sarwar slammed the government for failing to address a widening poverty gap and doing more on crime.

“I want to see a Pakistan where the son of a farmer a cobbler an ironsmith can also go to the parliament and not just the sons of businessman and industrialists” he said.

On Tuesday at a ceremony of Tehreek-i-Istehkam-i-Pakistan Sarwar had said: “It’s the diplomatic failure of Pakistan that US President Barack Obama visited India and signed all-important civil nuclear deal with it that included some conditions even against American and international laws.”

Sarwar had also criticised the civil bureaucracy saying they enjoyed each and every perk and privilege in the country but had contributed nothing to the nation in the last 68 years.

(With inputs from AFP)

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