Monday Jul 30, 2018
PESHAWAR: The list of contenders for the post of chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is shortening by the day. The most adamant to get the post is Pervez Khattak, the former chief minister, who is locked in a battle with the senior leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
PTI chairman Imran Khan has tried relentlessly to convince Khattak to clear the way for Atif Khan — the former education minister of the province — but nothing has worked.
Another serious candidate is Taimur Saleem Jhagra, who belongs to an influential family. Jhagra is young and recently won his first provincial assembly seat.
Finally, there is Asad Qaiser, the former speaker of the KP assembly. All four enjoy a strong lobby within the party. However, Khattak claims the support of 55, out of the party's total 65 MPAs in the province.
Bani Gala seems to have decided on Atif Khan, but Khattak’s clear and loud refusal to step aside made the leadership back down.
Pervez Khattak confirmed to Geo.tv that he has conveyed to the party leadership that he will not join the federal cabinet. “The party has a huge mandate in the country just because of my performance in KP,” he added.
He further said that Asad Umer and Jehangir Tareen also tried to convince him to leave KP, but he did not agree. “They have offered the post of President, Speaker of the National Assembly and all of the important ministries but none of these suit me.'
Khattak stressed that he would remain in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa because his people and almost all of the elected MPAs want him to serve in the province. “I have conveyed to the party that I will go home and will not take part in the politics as well as the party affairs if my right of choice is denied.”