The incumbent chief minister (CM) of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Amir Haider Khan Hoti has spent around four years, 10 months and 19 days in office, becoming the longest-serving elected chief executive of the province.
Hoti took oath on March 30, 2008 and will reach the end of his tenure next month.
He surpassed Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who remained in office for four years, 10 months and 11 days from November 30, 2002 to October 11, 2007.
Hoti also has the honour of being the last CM of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the first one of K-P.
Serving as the 14th CM of the province, Hoti led it through the most critical period in its history. He took oath at a time when the Taliban were wreaking havoc in Swat valley and Malakand, spilling to other parts of the province and making people fearful that Peshawar might fall to them.
However, Hoti’s government fought back, and with time the militants were pushed back. Additionally, the government also had to brave the largest internal displacement in the province’s history.
The first ever chief minister of the province was Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum, who assumed charge in 1937 when the British Raj enforced the Government of India Act 1935 in then NWFP. He was succeeded by Dr Khan Sahib twice and Sardar Aurangzeb Khan till 1947.
Abdul Qayyum Khan, who again led the provincial government from August 23, 1947 to April 23, 1953, was also the longest-serving CM of the province, but given the aftermath of the partition, his government was unelected and of a provisional nature.
From April 1953 to October 1955, when K-P was merged into one unit with what was then known as West Pakistan, Sardar Abdur Rashid and Sardar Bahadur Khan led as chief executives.
As a result of being one unit from October 14, 1955 to June 30, 1970, K-P had no CM. However, from May 1972 to February 1975, Maulana Mufti Mehmood and Sardar Inayatullah Khan Gandapur served as the chief ministers.
Arbab Jehangir Khan led the province from 1985-1988, while Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao served twice from 1988-1990 and again from 1994-1996. Mir Afzal Khan led the province from 1990 to 1993, Pir Sabir Shah from 1993-1994 and Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan from 1997-1999.
K-P has seen four caretaker setups during 1988 and 2008, and the upcoming setup will be the fifth of its kind.
Talking about Hoti’s tenure, Awami National Party’s (ANP) provincial spokesperson Malik Ghulam Mustafa termed it a good sign for democracy.
“We are thankful to all political parties which helped in removing the perception that a democratic setup could not function in Pakistan,” he said.
Mustafa added his party’s leaders Bashir Ahmed Bilour, Dr Shamsheer, Alamzeb Khan and others gave their lives for democracy, while Mian Iftikhar Hussain lost his only son.
He praised the party for sailing through difficult times, trying to counter terrorism and braving nature’s fury in the form of the 2010 floods.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2013.