Shaukatullah Khan’s appointment as the governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) was challenged by two petitions filed in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday.
A petition filed by Shahid Orakzai, a resident of Chaklala Rawalpindi, claims the governor’s appointment was a blatant violation of the 18 Amendment, passed in 2010. The amendment states that the governor must be a registered resident and voter of the province in question.
Another petitioner Advocate Gohar Rehman Khattak also challenged Governor Shaukatullah Khan’s appointment on the same grounds.
“Under clause 2 of Article 101, no person shall be appointed as governor unless he is a registered voter and resident of the province concerned,” the petition read. It further added that Khan hails from NA-43 constituency of Bajaur Agency.
The petition also stated that Khan was elected as a member of the National Assembly in 2008 on seats allocated to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), thereby making him ineligible to be appointed governor.
On this basis, Orakzai has claimed that the PHC should immediately restrain Khan from carrying out the duties of the governor office.
However, politicians and lawyers have pointed out that there is no problem with the appointment because K-P and Fata are interlinked.
“Tribesmen should be given the same right to be appointed governor as peopled from settled areas,” said Awami National Party (ANP) Central Vice-President Senator Haji Adeel.
“Yes, he is a tribal resident, but I am sure the constitution does not say that a person from Fata cannot become governor of the province,” said senior lawyer Latif Afridi. If Shaukatullah Khan owned property in the province, he would also have to be a registered voter, claimed Afridi. Currently, the governor is not registered to vote in K-P.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2013.