LAHORE: In the face of speculations that Prime Minister Imran Khan has made up his mind to replace Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, the PML-Q, an important ally of the ruling PTI, has made it clear that it is standing behind him (Buzdar).

“We are with Buzdar and fully supporting him. We are very much comfortable with him and rumours about his removal have no basis,” PML-Q MNA Moonis Elahi told Dawn on Wednesday.

To a question about whether Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi would be the candidate for the top slot in the province if the wind of change blew in coming days, Mr Moonis said: “No…we are not in favour of changing Mr Buzdar.”

A source in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) told Dawn that some groups in the party were behind this campaign against Mr Buzdar, believing that time had come to dispense with this ‘major liability’ of the party in the province for better delivery.

“Mr Buzdar’s performance is before everyone. Some quarters are not happy with Imran Khan sticking with Buzdar despite serious reservations on his ability to govern Punjab,” he said.

Although the names of Special Assistant to PM Zulfiqar (Zulfi) Bukhari’s cousin Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari, Aleem Khan, Mohsin Leghari and Aslam Iqbal are doing the round for possible replacement of Buzdar, the source insisted that “still no green signal has come from the quarter that matters the most.”

Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan told Dawn that rumour factory about the change of CM Buzdar had been active again. “But let me tell you as long as PM Imran Khan’s confidence is on Mr Buzdar he is going nowhere.”

To a question about those lobbying in the PTI for the coveted post, Mr Chohan said: “Imran Khan has a final word in any matter in the party and no one else can go against it.”

Another party leader said without taking the PML-Q – which has 10 MPAs – in the Punjab Assembly, the PTI leadership could not take chances to replace PML-Q-backed Buzdar. The coalition government has a ‘very thin; majority in the House while the strong opposition (PML-N and PPP) was already eyeing any such situation to exploit and show its cards.