K-P politics: Governorship takes centre stage as peace process moves forward

Published: March 25, 2014
Sardar Mehtab Abbasi. PHOTO: INP

Sardar Mehtab Abbasi. PHOTO: INP

SHABQADAR / PESHAWAR: Since the governor will play a focal role in the negotiations between the Taliban and government due to his position as chief executive of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) – the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) wants its own man in that position.

After a long discussion, the PML-N decided on Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, the leader of the opposition in the provincial assembly. He met with Punjab Chief Minister and party leader Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore last week to discuss this, after which his name was made public for the position of governor. It was confirmed at the wedding of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid Senator Mushahid Hussain’s son in Islamabad.

Those who met Abbasi at the wedding told The Express Tribune that he is reluctant to take up the post as he feels an active politician like himself should be a chief minister, opposition leader or federal minister. Due to his friendship with the Sharif family, however, he found it difficult to refuse Shahbaz’s proposal.

Advisor to the Prime Minister and PML-N Central Vice President Amir Muqam confirmed the development and said the party’s central leadership had finalised Abbasi’s name for governorship.

He said the decision had been taken to change the governor and the current governor, Shaukatullah Khan, has been taken into confidence.

He said the PML-N had criticised the provincial government but it was constructive criticism, they were not trying to topple the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government, but wanted to work with them.

An inside source claims that during the meeting with Shahbaz, Abbasi demanded full authority to transfer and post competent officials in Fata and FATA Secretariat to achieve peace in the region. He also asked for extra funds for tribal areas.

MNA Bismillah Khan, the father of the incumbent governor, however, has started lobbying for his own son. It was Bismillah who helped the PML-N get the vote of Fata’s independent parliamentarians for Mamnoon Husain during the presidential elections. Bismillah’s other son, Hidayatullah, is a senator from Nawagai, Bajaur Agency.

A source in Bismillah’s native village of Nawagai told The Express Tribune that Bismillah had a good relationship with Hamza Shahbaz and Chaudhry Nisar. The source claimed that Bismillah had asked them to help his son retain his post till he completes his two-year term so he could be eligible for pension and other benefits in the future. The source added that he claimed Shaukatullah’s removal would not be a good idea at the moment.

A former Fata parliamentarian who is close to the governor told The Express Tribune that Shaukatullah was an important player because of being a tribal head, a Khan who had cordial relations with the establishment. Being a tribal leader, said the source, Shaukatullah can play a vital role in the peace process.

A current Fata parliamentarian said many MNAs and ministers were not happy with the governor.

According to a PML-N insider it all boils down to who will get the credit if the talks are successful. If the talks fail, it will be a burden on Shaukatullah’s shoulders and he will be removed from his position. If they are successful, he will stay.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • MAD
    Mar 25, 2014 - 10:19AM

    Given the role that the Governor will play being Chief Executive of FATA i feel that the man who originates from FATA should stay in that position as he is likely to be more acceptable to the militants plus tribals involved in negotiation as compared to Sardar Mehtab (a well respected man across all political spheres) who hails from Hazara region and who is not ethnic Pukhtun. Also isnt Shaukatullah’s father a PMLN MNA?


  • roarwali
    Mar 25, 2014 - 12:14PM

    Sardar Mehtab as governor of KPK at this critical time will be a disaster for the peace process. Someone more familiar with the tribal affairs and ethnic pushtun is required to take the position.


  • RightMan
    Mar 25, 2014 - 12:15PM

    If captain gets blame for failure,,, let him choose his team for success… Mr.Sardar Mehtab is a most appropriate man for this position…!!


  • Awan
    Mar 25, 2014 - 1:01PM

    @roarwali: In Balochistan the Governer is Pushtun and CM is Baloch. In Sindh the Governor is Urdu Speaking while CM is Sindhi speaking. Meanwhile in KPK Hazara division dont have any representative in the top position as CM KPK is Pushtoon so Governer must be from Hazara division.
    Also by Suggesting that due to Peace talks a governer must be a Pushtoon is like reiterating the fact that Taliban is the second name of Tribal Pukhtoons? Dont you think there must be a difference in Taliban and Pukhtoons?


  • Mar 25, 2014 - 1:37PM

    A bad bad choice and bad time for removing current governor who is good enough in this situation to work in critical time as he knows the ground realities.It shows the sincerety level of central government towards KPK affairs just to create hindrance for peace talks and PTI, Ji government.


  • A J Khan
    Mar 25, 2014 - 1:40PM

    Nawaz Sharif appeared to have changed for good when he was out of power. Today he is fast galloping towards his old habits of Punjabi chauvinists. If he is placing Mehtab Abassi as Governor, he has all the intention to start his political war on Pakhtunkhwa & will try to carve out a province for his estranged son in Law.


  • The negotiator
    Mar 25, 2014 - 3:28PM

    We all belong to Pakistan… Sardar Mehtab is the right man for this position with high intelligence and wisdom, if the inside man should be the criteria for any position, I guess we Muslims do not Deserve Indo Pak and they should leave subcontinent to Hindus….!!


  • Dr Abid Shah Mashwani
    Mar 25, 2014 - 8:24PM

    Some of you making argument that current governor is from FATA so his role to bring peace is more important. I think KPK had pushtoon governors for last 20 years, then why didn’t we have peace in KPK?

    For peace and justice you don’t need a pushtoon or a muslim rather you need a person who will respect other rights and be just to them. Even a non muslim and non pushtoon could do a lot better for people of FATA and KPK than current and past politicians.Recommend

  • Dr. Khalid
    Mar 25, 2014 - 8:45PM

    Wrong choice!Recommend

  • roarwali
    Mar 26, 2014 - 2:20AM

    The question is not to share the power in the province with non-pashtun. Governor plays a major role in FATA affairs and therefore, he should be someone to engage tribal people to get rid of the terrorism and this in turn requires someone who understand tribal culture. I wouldn’t complain if Cheif minister is from Hazara but for the position of Governor it should be ethnic Pashtun in view of the situation we are facing now.
    As for the second point, Pashtun are more progressive and democratic… The current war is brought to our land and imposed on our people. That’s it.


  • Jamal
    Mar 26, 2014 - 3:37AM

    It shows the current govt is not sincere in the peace process.


  • MAO
    Mar 26, 2014 - 8:46AM

    @Dr Abid Shah Mashwani:
    Let me list out which ethnic groups the past Governors of KPK from 2014 to 1988 belong to and where they’re from. Shaukatullah (Pukhtun Bajaur FATA); Masud Kausar (Hindkowan Kohat); Owais Ghani (Pukhtun Pishin Balochistan) Lt. Gen Ali Jan Orakzai (Pukhtun Orakzai FATA) Commander Khalil (Hindkowan Peshawar) Lt. Gen Iftikhar Hussain (Hindkowan Kohat) Lt. Gen Shafiq (Hindkowan Kohat) Miangul Aurangzeb (Pukhtun Swat) Lt. Gen Arif Bandash (Pukhtun Kohat) Justice Ibne Ali (Pukhtun Kohat) Maj Gen Khurshid (Pukhtun Charsadda) Brig. Amir Janjua (Punjabi). So going through that list there have 4 Hindkowans as Governor and 2 Pukhtuns from FATA, 1 Pukhtun from Balochistan and 1 Punjabi while there have been 4 Pukhtun Governors from KPK proper, out of which 2 are not ex-military. The last 4 out of 7 (now 5 out of 8) Governors since the the turn of the millennium have been Hindkowan.


  • Dr Naseer Hussain
    Mar 26, 2014 - 9:10AM

    Sardar Mehtab is not only a good administrator but he is also a very honest person. His presence at this juncture would be immensely helpful in solving the problems of Tribals.Sardar sahib should be persuaded to accept the post, if not for his liking but for the God forsaken people of FATA, We need him and need him desperately.


  • MAO
    Mar 26, 2014 - 10:56PM

    @Dr Naseer Hussain:
    No he isn’t. His administration was a disaster and he was too busy trying to consolidate power in FATA instead of doing meaningful work in the province. He has no clue about the rest of Hazara division let alone KPK and no tribal elder wants to communicate with him because many remember his role in trying isolate FATA as CM and the rampant increase in Afghan refugees in other districts as opposed to their camps and other concentrated areas. Add to that that he cannot speak Pukhtu and his total lack of education when it comes to FATA policy.Recommend

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