Rifts emerge in PTI as Khattak wants to stay as KP chief minister

  • Pervez Khattak denies division in party, says Imran will decide about the CM

PESHAWAR: After scoring a landslide victory in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on July 25 general election, there are reports of rifts amongst Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders over winning the coveted slot of KP chief minister.

According to reports, former KP chief minister Pervez Khattak convened an informal meeting of newly elected MPAs at speaker’s house in Peshawar late on Monday night, which led to rumours of rifts and divisions in the party.

The former CM, on the conclusion of the meeting, termed it an introductory session for the incoming provincial lawmakers but within, it was meant to get sympathies of a majority of newly elected MPAs.

Approximately 45 MPAs attended the meeting but party officials denied any hidden agenda behind it. However, reports suggest the intention was to pressurise the central leadership of the party to re-appoint Khattak at the post as he believes no one else can manage the post. Former provincial education minister Muhammad Atif Khan was absent on the occasion.

Khattak accredits himself for the landslide victory of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and considers himself as the right fit for the office of the CM. But PTI Chief Imran Khan requires more MNAs for establishing the government at the centre and has already directed all those elected on dual seats to let go of the provincial seat and be an MNA at the centre.

Pervez Khattak along with former KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, ex-revenue minister Ali Amin Gandhapur and Dr Haider Ali was elected on both national and provincial assembly seats.

The PTI won 66 out of 97 general seats of KP Assembly on July 25 general elections. The strength could go up to 90 in the house of 124 with the filling of reserve seats for women and minorities.

Besides Khattak, former speaker Asad Qaisar, ex-ministers Mushtaq Ghani, Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and Mehmood Khan, along with newly elected MPAs Taimur Salim Jhagra and Ehtesham Inaamullah Khan, are also counted as aspirants for the CM office. Taimur Salim is not only considered amongst aides of Imran Khan, he was one amongst those who prepared the 100-days plan of PTI government.

Ehtesham Inaamullah is a relative of Saifullah family is also emerging as a strong candidate for the office.

Former secretary and analyst Brig (r) Mehmood Shah confirmed Pakistan Today that rifts amongst PTI ranks exist on the issue of the chief minister. He said that Pervez Khattak intends to be an occupant of the office for the second term but the party high command is considering nominating Muhammad Atif Khan, who according to him is an apt fit for the post.

Shah, however, said that PTI leadership would easily handle the situation as Pervez Khattak has also been elected to the National Assembly.

On the other hand, Pervez Khattak backtracked on his previous statements that he would quit the PTI if he is not retained at the post and denied any grouping within the party over the matter.

“Imran Khan will decide about the chief minister in KP,” he said while talking to media after a meeting with provincial MPAs-elect.



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