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April 18, 2021

Crisis-like situation in KP as three aides to CM quit

Top Story

April 18, 2021

PESHAWAR: Though expected for some time, the resignation of two advisors and one special assistant to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday created a crisis-like situation in the government as well as in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) circles.

There were speculations that after seeking approval from Prime Minister Imran Khan, the chief minister would sack some of his cabinet members and change portfolios of a few other ministers. It was quite a lengthy list of ministers, advisors and special assistants supposed to be either de-notified or have their portfolios changed, but some of them are believed to have survived the so-called ‘clean-up’ operation.

In the first phase, two advisors including Himayatullah Khan, Advisor to the chief minister on Energy & Power and Ziaullah Khan Bangash, Advisor on Science & Technology and Information Technology along with Ghazan Jamal, Special Assistant to the chief minister on Excise & Taxation, offered their resignations. According to senior leaders of PTI close to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the three cabinet members were asked to resign before they could be de-notified.

One by one all three tendered their resignation and sent it to the chief minister.

Special Assistant to the chief minister on Information, Kamran Bangash told The News that the chief minister had accepted resignations of the three cabinet members. However, he didn’t explain the reasons for their removal from the cabinet. According to well-placed sources, the prime minister had learnt that the KP government was not delivering as per expectations of the people. He had reportedly empowered the chief minister to identify those in his cabinet not doing well. The reshuffle was expected long ago but got delayed due to the Senate election.

“The list of cabinet members was quite lengthy and it included some ministers, advisors and special assistants. In the meantime, some of them managed to survive but these three were made an example for others,” said a senior PTI leader. Pleading anonymity, he said by removing the three cabinet members, the prime minister in fact wanted to send a strong message to the rest of the people in the government.

“If you ask me, most of the people could not deliver. But I will use a soft and safe word, question mark, on their performance. I am not sure anyone else is to be sacked at the moment,” he said when asked about rumours regarding replacing other cabinet members.

He said he had no idea about the two other cabinet members, but Ghazan Jamal, elected as an independent before joining the PTI, was doing well in his department.

Before his sacking, Ziaullah Bangash was advisor to the chief minister on higher education. His portfolio was later changed and was asked to head the science and technology department. He was elected member of the provincial assembly on PTI ticket from Kohat district.

In his resignation note that he shared on his Twitter account, Ziaullah Bangash stated: “(I) Submitted my resignation from post of Advisor to CM KP. Some unavoidable circumstances in my constituency have forced me to take this step. I have a lot of responsibilities and I want to keep up to expectations of people of my constituency & reserve my entire attention for them”.

Syed Ghazi Ghazan Jamal is a young lawmaker and was elected from Orakzai tribal district.

He is son of prominent senior former parliamentarian, Dr Ghazi Gulab Jamal, commonly known as GG Jamal.

Ghazan Jamal in his resignation letter cited some “circumstances” for quitting but didn’t explain.

“It is with regret that I submit my resignation from the portfolio of Special Assistant to CM for Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control. Over the past year, I have endeavoured to reform and improve the department and worked diligently to realise the goals set by your leadership. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am unable to continue as a Special Assistant. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity, and in my capacity, as MPA for Orakzai I will continue to work on behalf of the people of my district,” Ghazan Jamal explained.

Interestingly, Ghazan Jamal in a recent tweet praised his department and said that “another great month for KP excise and taxation department compared to last March, in March 2021, property tax collection has gone up 71% while the overall collection is up 51%. Similarly 9-month property tax up 66% & overall by 19% (in spite of finishing 4 of the 8 taxes to avoid dual taxation)”.

If the PTI leadership is to be believed that the three of them were sacked on the basis of performance, then Ghazan Jamal deserved to be declared a full-time minister.

Insiders in the party and the government, however, told The News that the real challenge was to adjust the four PTI members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly recently inducted in the cabinet.

They are former provincial ministers Mohammad Atif Khan and Shakeel Ahmad and new faces in the cabinet, Fazal Shakoor Khan and Faisal Amin Gandapur.

Also, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar has also been putting pressure on the party leadership to adjust his brother Aaqibullah Khan, an MPA from Swabi, in the cabinet.

Also, according to sources, the PTI leadership has decided to give an important position to the former senator of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif in the KP government.

He is expected to become an advisor to the chief minister on information.

“Actually the KP government has done some excellent work for the people but this is not properly projected. Most of our people in the government are following Imran Khan’s style in politics. He is the prime minister and party chairman and can do whatever he wants but we need to work for the welfare of the people,” said a senior party leader holding an important position in the KP government.

He believed that Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif is an experienced lawmaker and will facilitate the chief minister in his work. Asked if there was no qualified person for the job among the elected PTI people, he said: “Absolutely no. We tried many and all of them are interested in their self-projection and personal interests”.