Engineer Shaukatullah Khan’s appointment as the new governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has sparked controversy as a provision in the 18th Amendment in the Constitution states that the holder of the post should be a registered voter and resident of the province.
Shaukatullah is neither a resident nor a registered voter of K-P, as he was elected a member of the lower house of parliament from the NA-43 constituency of Bajaur, a Federally Administered Tribal Area, in 2008.
Politicians and lawyers also have differing opinions on whether someone from Fata can become a provincial governor.
Article 101 (1) of the Constitution – which deals with the appointment of a governor – was amended in the 18th Amendment, and other conditions for the appointment were inserted into the clause, which states that the governor should be “a registered voter and resident of the province concerned”.
Senator Haji Adeel of the Awami National Party told The Express Tribune that even though Article 101 (1) states that a governor must be a voter and resident of the province, the appointed head of the K-P government also oversees the affairs of the tribal areas as a representative of the federation.
“As people from settled areas are appointed governor of the province and Fata, therefore tribesmen should also be given the same right,” Adeel argued.
On the other hand, Latif Afridi, a senior lawyer, termed the move an anomaly and said it should have been made clear in the Constitution that a tribal person from Fata could not be appointed a governor.
“Now this is not written anywhere that a person from Fata cannot be the province’s governor,” Afridi stated.
Afridi sounded assured that Shaukatullah owned houses in K-P in which case he could be a registered voter of the province.
However, an Election Commission of Pakistan official said that a vote could not be registered at two different places.
PTI terms appointment illegal
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has termed the appointment of Shaukatullah as the new governor of K-P illegal and it is likely to challenge the move in the Supreme Court.
According to some party leaders, PTI raised its concerns over the appointment, saying it violated the 18th Amendment.
PTI Central Information Secretary Shafqat Mahmood said that his appointment was controversial as the K-P governor also acts as the federal government’s representative in Fata and thus would be overseeing the elections. “Since Shaukatullah has been a federal minister of the Pakistan Peoples Party government, his appointment is politically motivated aiming at supporting the ruling party’s candidates in the upcoming polls,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2013.