PESHAWAR: After the party announced names for the 15-member provincial cabinet late on Sunday, the nominated members are scheduled to take oath on Tuesday (today) afternoon.
However, all does note bode well with deep divisions amongst the party’s provincial leadership surfacing just hours before the oath-taking ceremony with at least one nominated member publicly announcing plans to turn down the job on offer.
According to an official notification issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday evening, 12 ministers, two advisers and one special assistant had been named in the cabinet.
Former education and energy minister Atif Khan — once tipped to head the government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) owing to his stellar performance in the last government — has been handed the post of senior minister along with the coveted tourism portfolio.
Similarly, Shahram Khan Tarakai has been appointed as the minister for local government. In exchange, he has had to give up his senior minister title and the portfolios of health and information technology.
There was a surprise with first-time provincial assembly member Taimoor Saleem Jhagra being handed the key portfolio of finance.
Elsewhere, Syed Ishtiaq Urmer was named forest minister, Haji Qalandar Lodhi the food minister, Shakeel Ahmed Khan the revenue minister, Mohibullah Khan the agriculture minister, Amjad Ali the mineral development minister, Ziaullah Khan Bangash an advisor to the chief minister, Sultan Muhammad Khan as law minister, Hisham Inamullah Khan as health minister, Kamran Bangash as information technology minister, Abdul Karim as advisor to the chief minister on industries and Shah Muhammad Wazir as the special assistant to the chief minister on transport.
Akhtar Ayub Khan was also included in the cabinet but has not been assigned a portfolio yet.
Jhagra, Kamran, Akhtar, Shakeel, Mohibullah, Sultan, Hisam and Karim will be new faces in the current cabinet.
However, the current cabinet makeup sees some key sectors left unattended such as the education departments — elementary, secondary and higher, information, public health engineering, zakat and usher, religious affairs, home and tribal affairs, irrigation, energy and power.
The new cabinet is expected to take oath in Peshawar on Tuesday at 3pm.
Acting K-P governor Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani will administer the oath of office, K-P government spokesperson Shaukat Yousafzai said on Monday.
PTI leader Shah Muhammad Wazir, who hails from Bannu, has announced that he will be rejecting his assignment in the newly constituted cabinet of the province.
Wazir, who has been handed his old job back, said that he was not happy with his portfolio of special assistant to the chief minister for transport.
“I have served in the same position for five years in the last government but this time I am turning it down because I see it as an outcome of internal grouping in the party,” he stated in a video message shared on social media on Monday.
Wazir also expressed his annoyance over how the southern regions of K-P were neglected in the composition of the new provincial cabinet.
“If we cannot ensure justice within our own party, then how can we persuade others,” he lamented in the video message.
Similarly, Fazal Elahi from Peshawar — who was expecting to get a slot in the cabinet but ultimately missed out in the final reckoning — was so angry that he submitted a resolution in the K-P assembly on Monday urging all members of the cabinet to declare their assets so that their income growth can be ascertained.
He submitted the resolution in the assembly secretariat in which stated that members of the cabinet, including ministers and advisors, should all submit their complete asset details so that the people can determine what they were earning five years ago and what their income was now.
Elahi further stated that he was presenting himself first for accountability, adding that the accountability process should be extended to everyone so that if anyone is involved in corruption, they cannot stain the party’s reputation.
When asked about the resolution, Elahi explained that it was aimed for bringing accountability and transparency in the country, adding that it was a prime component of PTI’s agenda.
“I did not get into politics for securing ministries. I will carry on my political career as per party directions and decision,” he stated, adding that everyone, including government officials and elected representatives, should be subject to accountability.
Sources in the PTI say that the party is expected to induct around eight more members in the cabinet including ministers and advisors over the due course of time and will address issues such as women representation.
“Important departments are yet to be assigned to someone and women will also be given representation in the cabinet, but the final decision has not yet been taken,” said an office holder in the party privy to party matters.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2018.