PESHAWAR: As the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) remains to decide a name for the chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), former CM and party heavyweight Pervez Khattak is said to be exercising all his might to bag the coveted position for a second term.
On Monday, Khattak gathered 42 newly elected representatives of the K-P assembly who secured their seats on PTI ticket at the Speaker House in Peshawar to show his ‘strength’ to his competitors for the CM slot.
The participants agreed to support the ex-CM against the former provincial education minister Atif Khan, who is said to be a strong candidate for the office and has support among the party’s central leadership.
According to sources, Khattak enjoys the support of a majority of his former cabinet including former information minister Shah Farman, former revenue minister Ali Amin Gandapur, and also K-P assembly speaker Asad Qaiser, who all attended the meeting along with other provincial leaders such as Mian Jamsheduddin, Arbab Jahandad, Arbab Waseem, Fazle Shakoor, and Abdul Karim Shafiullah among others.
The participants are said to have agreed to support Shah Farman for the chief minister’s slot in case the party leadership needs Khattak and Qaiser in the National Assembly, but they will still try to stop Khan from leading K-P, a PTI stronghold.
Sources also informed that Khattak rebuffed suggestion of contesting by-elections on his provincial assembly seat, after which he’ll be sworn in as the CM while Khan would serve in the slot for the initial three months.
However, talking to media after the meeting, Khattak refuted news regarding lobbying in PTI and said that the meeting was just a get-together to celebrate the party’s victory.
“It was meeting with the candidates who won their seats,” he said adding that decision regarding K-P CM would be taken by party chairman Imran Khan and they will all respect his selection.
Khattak, accompanied by Shah Farman and Qaiser said that they are soldiers of Imran. “No one is lobbying for any slot in the cabinet. Not anyone from Swat or from Peshawar. We are all part of PTI and Imran’s call is binding for all of us,” he told reporters.
PTI has secured 66 general seats in the K-P assembly and has a two-thirds majority in the house, making it a certainty to form the government.
Meanwhile, sources in PTI said that Khattak, Qaiser and others who have secured seats in the NA along with the K-P assembly, would have to leave their provincial seats as the party needs every seat to get the required number to form its federal government. Thus, Atif Khan, who only won a provincial assembly seat, is left among the strong candidates for the CM slot, despite opposition from the Khattak camp.