As the date for the deputy speaker’s election in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly nears, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf hopefuls for ministerial slots are looking to get a portfolio in the Cabinet after the vote.
Following the induction of two ministers and an adviser from Qaumi Watan Party, former irrigation minister Mahmood Khan and Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Industries and Commerce Abdul Mumin Khan are sans portfolios. After the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the Cabinet must not have more than 15 members including the chief minister. The head of the province, meanwhile, can have a total of five advisers.
Insiders say Roghani will be the treasury benches’ candidate for the deputy speaker’s slot, while Mahmood Khan’s former ministry and a vacant adviser position are the focus of ministerial aspirants.
The hopefuls have said the decision on the portfolio will be taken after the deputy speaker’s election which is scheduled for December 22.
Lawmakers from Peshawar believe the district needs representation in the cabinet as it has only one minister – Minister for Public Health Engineering Shah Farman. “Peshawar has to be given representation in the cabinet following the ousting of Ziaullah Afridi, Shaukat Yousufzai and Yaseen Khalil,” said an MPA hailing from the district, requesting anonymity.
“The K-P leadership will certainly give a slot to lawmakers from Peshawar,” he said. The MPA added Roghani will get the deputy speaker position because PTI wants to bring a woman to the seat, while Mahmood Khan will get the Planning and Development department.
However, the insider said the ruling party has yet to confirm the candidate for deputy speaker and among those reportedly vying for the slot was Mehmood Jan who is part of a like-minded PTI group.
However, when contacted, Jan denied to have struggled for the position. He said party chief Imran Khan suggested that deputy speaker position should be given to Jan and now it is up to the provincial leadership to pay attention to this advice.
“I am loyal to the party and will not take any steps against its decision regardless of whether I get a ministry or not,” Jan said.
When asked about any possible changes, K-P Government Spokesperson and Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Information and Higher Education Mushtaq Ghani said the cabinet was complete and Mahmood Khan was still a minister. He added the government would soon issue a notification on the departments given to him.
“We have a slot for adviser, but it is not mandatory that it be filled.” He said a notification on the departments will be issued in a few days. He said the planning and development, disaster management and sports, culture and tourism departments were unoccupied and positions of ministers or advisers would be filled by those candidates without departments.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2015.