Lahore : Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Usman Buzdar was elected as the new chief minister of Punjab province, defeating his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rival Hamza Shehbaz with a slender margin.
While Buzdar garnered 186 votes in the Punjab assembly, Shehbaz managed 159 votes. After his victory, the newly elected chief minister pledged to root out all perennial problems in the Punjab province.
Buzdar was quoted by Geo News as saying, "My merit is that I am from the most impoverished region of Punjab. We will develop the underdeveloped areas [of Punjab] and sustain the developed regions."
He elucidated that he would focus on ensuring good governance, tackling corruption and strengthening of state institutions and local bodies, while adding that he would take Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah's vision to greater heights.
The PTI leader further said that he would bring the "Khyber Pakhtunkhwa model" of development to Punjab province.
Buzdar made headlines after media reports emerged that he had allegedly paid blood money to settle a murder case.
The newly elected Punjab chief minister and his father were in a legal soup for plotting a murder, wherein six men were killed in a firing during the 1998 elections. Reports citing sources disclosed that more than 20 people were involved in the incident, who had started indiscriminate firing during Buzdar's poll campaigning, The News International reported.
A court had declared Buzdar and others guilty in connection with the murder case. However, the Punjab chief minister nominee and his father allegedly paid Rs. 7,50,000 as a settlement, following which the charges against them were dropped.
However, Buzdar himself rejected the allegations against him, terming it as 'propaganda' and said that the murder charges against him were 'fake'. Buzdar's brother also rebuffed the claims, saying they were 'baseless'.