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Despite KP CM’s statement, federal ministers still seeking cabinet berths for close relatives

March 06, 2019

PESHAWAR: Despite Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan’s statement that no close relatives of the PTI’s federal ministers would be taken as provincial ministers, special assistants or advisors, it was learnt that the influential party leaders are keen in getting their close relatives inducted in the cabinet.

Sources told The News that the tussle for cabinet berths is one of the reasons for the delay in expanding the provincial cabinet.

After securing majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in the July 2018 general election, the PTI came into power for the second consecutive term in the province with Mahmood Khan as chief Minister. The party’s central leadership had also chosen the 14-member provincial cabinet with 11 ministers and two special assistants and an advisor to the chief minister.

Shaukat Yusufzai was taken as provincial Information Minister after he won by-polls from his hometown Shangla. At the moment Chief Minister Mehmood Khan holds about 17 portfolios whereas important ministries.

The expansion in the provincial cabinet was apparently delayed till the results of by-polls in September 2018 as some close relatives of the PTI leaders were contesting from the constituencies they had vacated for the National Assembly.

Besides others, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak’s son Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and his brother Liaqat Khattak were elected in the by-polls from Nowshera, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser’s brother and former MNA Aqibullah Khan was elected from Swabi while federal Minister Ali Amin Gandapur’s brother Faisal Amin Gandapur retained his brother’s seat from Dera Ismael Khan.

Also, late Sardar Ikramullah Khan Gandapur’s younger son Aghaz Ikramullah Gandapur was elected to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in the by-polls. It was believed that the blood relatives of the central leaders of the PTI and federal ministers would get important portfolios in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet soon after taking oath as member of provincial assembly.

However, the sources confirmed that due to strong opposition from some provincial ministers the cabinet’s expansion was delayed. They said that Prime Minister Imran Khan held separate meetings with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Senior Minister Mohammad Atif Khan to finalise names for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet.

It was also expected that a woman lawmaker from the PTI would be made a minister or advisor to the chief minister while a minority member would also be inducted in the cabinet but no consensus has been developed yet on the issue among the PTI leaders.