A former Labour Party MP who gave up his British citizenship to return to his native Pakistan as governor of the Punjab has resigned less than two years into his tenure.
Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar tendered his resignation on Thursday claiming that the “system has failed to deliver to the masses” who are “deprived of justice, rights and prosperity”.
The 62-year-old’s resignation comes days after he criticized the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for failing to persuade US President Barack Obama – on a tour of neighbouring India – to visit Pakistan.
Punjab-born Mr Sarwar had migrated to Scotland in 1976, starting a successful retail business before entering politics in 1997.
Soon after he was appointed Labour MP for Glasgow Central in that year’s General Election.
In August 2013, Mr Sarwar renounced his British citizenship to take up the role of governor in Punjab, Pakistan’s largest, most prosperous and influential state.
Writing in his Facebook page, he expressed his frustration at the lack of progress in Punjab and Pakistan in general.
“I am saying this with deep sorrow that cruelty and injustice is mounting in Pakistan, the problems of poor are increasing day by day and complex national issues are on a rise in Pakistan. Land grabbers and pressure groups are active; justice is weak, cases of rape and acid-throwing are increasing, children are kidnapped and murdered.
“The murderers are enjoying scot-free and the bereaved families of the victims are knocking unanswered doors of justice. Remember that democracy prevails because of the struggle and sacrifices of political workers. Politicians aspiring for power and officialdom cannot succeed without the support and backing of their political adherents.
“I humbly request the political workers not to underestimate their political power as they are the real strength forming the basis of political parties.
Mr Sarwar added that he had been unable to make any progress on important issues during his time in office.
“Being a Governor I have been unable to resolve public issues. My belief has strengthened that the struggle for attaining the rights of laborers, farmers and the deprived can be made even while staying outside the premises of Governor House.
“I promise you all that both my life and death will be for Pakistan. It should be the mission of all Pakistanis to fulfil the dreams of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Poet of the East, Allama Iqbal. I wish for the formation of such a society in Pakistan where the resources are not just confined to a few hands, which is free from unemployment, poverty and illiteracy, where rule of law prevails, where state system protects the weak against the powerful, where tyrants have the fear of writ of the state and where the wealth and honor of public is protected”, Mr Sarwar said.
On Thursday, speculation mounted that Mr Sarwar had been forced out of the position after criticizing the government for its “diplomatic failure” in failing to convince President Obama to visit Pakistan – the United States’ most important ally in the region.
However, Mr Sarwar dismissed the reports, saying he had resigned out of his own free will.