Caving in to ECP concerns, KP interim CM to ‘de-notify cabinet tomorrow’

Interim information minister says CM Azam Khan sought the resignations when he invited his cabinet for tea today

Shakeel Farman Ali
Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan chairing a meeting of the interim cabinet. — Screengrab/Twitter/@KPChiefMinister
Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan chairing a meeting of the interim cabinet. — Screengrab/Twitter/@KPChiefMinister 

  • Shah says resignations sought when cabinet invited for tea by CM. 
  • Adds eight cabinet members are yet to submit their resignations.
  • Decision taken after ECP sends letter to caretaker chief minister.

PESHAWAR: Following the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) concerns regarding the interim cabinet in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), interim Chief Minister Azam Khan has decided to de-notify his ministers tomorrow (Friday), confirmed provincial Information Minister Firdous Jamal Shah on Thursday.

Shah said that he was among the 19 ministers who have submitted their resignations to the interim CM Azam. He added that 8 ministers will submit their resignations tomorrow.

Shah also said that CM Azam sought the resignations when he invited his cabinet for tea today.

“If other ministers do not submit their resignations then they will be de-notified. CM will send the summary for de-notification of cabinet tomorrow,” the minister said. He added that the chief minister took the decision after receiving the letter from the ECP regarding politically affiliated people in the cabinet.

Last month, the electoral authority directed the KP caretaker CM to immediately “de-notify” ministers, advisers and special assistants “involved in politics”.

The directives were issued in a letter sent by Secretary Omar Hamid Khan on behalf of the election organising authority to the interim chief minister.

In the letter, the ECP briefed the interim CM on Article 218(3) and the role the caretaker setup plays in the conduct of the elections.

“The caretaker government including cabinet members, advisers, special assistants and other relevant functionaries can only provide an objective environment if they do not involve themselves in politics and election campaigns in violation of provisions of Section 230 (1)(d) and 2(g) of the Elections Act, 2017,” the secretary said in the letter.

The ECP regretted that it had noticed that some cabinet members were “appointed on the basis of political affiliations”. It also cited the example of Shahid Khattak, the former interim transport minister, who resigned after he was found indulging in “political activities”.

The electoral body regretted that the “attitude” of some cabinet members was “against the very spirit” of the caretaker government that has been envisioned in the Constitution and the Elections Act 2017.

“In view of the foregoing, the Election Commission has desired to request you while keeping the interim cabinet members at a minimum, to review the above said appointments (in light of the criteria as laid down in the above-said provisions of the Election Laws) and to de-notify such Ministers, Advisers and Special Assistants which are involved in politics immediately, so that free, fair and transparent elections are ensured for future,” the ECP added.

Multiple parties have complained about the interim setup in KP. According to The News, the majority of the caretaker cabinet members are either affiliated with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) or their appointees.

In July, Shahid Khan Khattak, former KP caretaker minister for transport, had to tender his resignation after he faced criticism when he addressed a public meeting in the Nowshera district recently.

The ECP back then had also called the interim KP CM to remove Khattak from his post.