It was in January 2020, when Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman removed Sharam Khan Tarakai, Muhammad Atif Khan and Shakeel Ahmed, from the provincial cabinet. The decision was taken under Article 132, read with clause one of Article 105 of the constitution, for an alleged conspiracy—to oust Chief Minister (CM) Mehmood Khan.
Tarakai however, soon returned to the cabinet upon assuring his loyalty to the hierarchy. As for the Chief Minister, it is believed much of his power is vested in the support he garners from the Prime Minister House, which is seldom critical of his acts.
For the ruling party, although the previous year may have opened with a ruckus within its own ranks, it appears the seed of revolt could never bear fruit. Drawing an overwhelming majority in the provincial legislature, in addition to the Prime Minister’s unwavering support, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) faced little to no challenges in 2020. Except for a sit-in by the opposition members, that too, almost towards the end of the year.
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an oppositional alliance formed in the latter-half of 2020, was projected to be a vexing bone in the ruling party’s throat. Much to the opposition’s dismay however, the alliance could never muster the numbers needed for significant political weightage, as evident from PDM’s Peshawar gathering.
The government on the other hand, has painted itself to be largely unbothered by any tumult created by the PDM, seldom interfering with any of the opposition’s anti-government congregations. In PTI’s self-written narrative, the government is more focused on moving ahead with its developmental activities, than anything to do with PDM.
The opposition parties’ scrutiny of the government, has largely focused on the Prime Minister’s Billion Tree Tsunami and Peshawar’s Buss Rapid Transit (BRT) System— two of the government’s most touted projects in the region. Although, the latter was finally inaugurated in August of 2020, the opposition has remained undeterred from its stance, still seeking court orders to declassify all inquiries carried out by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), in the regard.
With its overwhelming majority in the provincial legislature, the ruling PTI government was able to pass 37 bills including K-P Epidemic Control and Emergency Relief Act 2020. In addition to that, a legislature was also passed in the province, to limit school-bag weightage across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Sports also received greater government attention in 2020. Various sports grounds were upgraded and renovated while several new facilities have been chalked out across the province and are awaiting construction.
Apart from assembly matters, the government’s focus in 2020, has largely remained on developing the tourism sector. Other than that, the year 2020 also saw significant weightage being put on moving ahead with previous developmental, plans including those under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), across K-P.
Several new tourist destinations were discovered and listed for development in 2020. This time however, the locations were not restricted to Northern areas but also Western regions in erstwhile Tribal districts. One such example is Samana, district Hangu which has become an ideal tourist destination.
Furthermore, the government has also been working on easing tourist access to already established destinations, including Galyat, Malam Jabba, Kalam and beyond, through infrastructure development.
Owing to increased access and improvement in security conditions, the previous year saw thousands of local visitors thronging to the province’s hill-side regions. Apart from that, the government too has been trying to pull foreign tourists from foreign countries, a majority of which have been tourists from Japan and Korea looking to visit the country’s archeological sites.
With hundreds of tourists and dozens of diplomats visiting Takht Bhai archeological sites, officials believe that within the next few years, religious tourism will help boost the country’s economy. In addition to that, it is also hoped to project a more positive image of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2021.
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