Race starts for CM K-P’s slot

PESHAWAR: As the dust of the general elections settles, the emerging dominance of PTI in the province — winning a second consecutive term — has immediately raised the all-important question: who will be selected as the next chief minister?

Several leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and some new ones managed to secure their position in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) assembly with the party securing as many as 65 seats per unofficial results and 52 per the official results by Thursday evening.

Party insiders say that the currently several senior and influential PTI leaders, including former chief minister Pervez Khattak, former education minister Atif Khan, former provincial assembly speaker Asad Qaiser, former senior minister Shahram Khan Taraki and the ‘parachute’ part of the party’s think tank Taimur Jhagra, are said to be in contention for the coveted position.

Will Nowshera sacrifice former CM for promises of jobs?

Some party sources suggest that Atif is in prime position to take up the CM’s mantle from Khattak.

Atif, who had won elections from PK-50 Mardan in 2013, was awarded tickets on two seats including PK-50 and NA-21 Mardan.

Atif secured his PK-50 seat comfortably with 25,807 votes, with Awami National Party’s (ANP) Haroon Khan mustering only 11,739 votes. The Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Khwaja Hoti could account for only 8,894 votes.

However, on the NA-21, seat, ANP’s former chief minister Haider Hoti defeated Atif by a mere 33 votes. Hoti had secured 78,911 votes while Atif managed 78,873 votes.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a party source said that with the party securing a simple majority, the former elementary education minister will be the prime candidate for the chief minister slot, preferred over former incumbent Khattak.

Khattak lost one of the two provincial assembly seats in Nowshera to the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). In PK-64 Nowshera-IV, Khattak only managed 15,196 votes, while TLP’s Syed Haider Shah won the seat with 16,914 votes.

The former chief minister, though, managed to retain PK-61 Nowshera-I, bagging 20,647 votes. His nearest competitor in that seat was namesake Parvez Khan of the ANP who got 16,054 votes.

Khattak also won the national assembly seat, NA-25 Nowshera-I, by securing a whopping 82,118 votes compared to another namesake, Khan Pervez of the PPP who managed a mere 35,658 votes.

Another PTI source suggested that the party needs to hang on to its NA sets to secure a majority in the centre, which is why the party has decided to use all of its NA seats. This leaves Atif as the most suitable candidate for the CM slot with Khattak and Qaiser retaining their NA seats.

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Moreover, party officials said that Atif was far closer to PTI chief Imran Khan when compared to Khattak and that the former education minister had proved his performance in the past five years, making him far more eligible for the slot of the chief minister.

Additionally, a number of PTI provincial lawmakers were unhappy with Khattak due to his attitude towards them, especially in the distribution of developmental funds while his performance was not very good.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2018.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1767152/1-province-bag-race-starts-cms-slot/