Is the infighting in KPK cabinet finally over?

Is the infighting in KPK cabinet finally over?

Three ministers ousted but differences persist

The chief minister KPK Mehmood Khan removed his opponents from his cabinet after getting approval from Prime Minister and Chairman PTI Imran Khan. The three ministers including Atif Khan and two other were leading a group of around 20 MPAs and trying to get backing from PM Imran khan to oust CM Mehmood Khan. But this group failed to get support of PM Imran Khan and even failed to meet to him.

Meanwhile CM Mehmood Khan approached prime minister and convinced him to oust them from cabinet.   The chief Minister KPK informed the Prime Minister about the factional activities of Atif Khan- Shahram Tarakai and Shakeel Ahmad who were trying to bring vote of no-confidence against CM KPK.

KP Governor Shah Farman de-notified Atif Khan, Shahram Tarakai and Shakeel Ahmed as provincial ministers on Sunday. Atif Khan and Shahram Tarakai are close relatives.  PM Imran Khan issued these directives to the Governor after CM complained of conspiracies being hatched against him, provincial information minister, Shaukat Yousafzai told media.

Now the question is –will these sackings end the feud and factionalism within PTI in KPK? It seems that for the time being this grouping will disappear and CM Mehmood Khan will gain upper hand. But things will not as smooth as it was before.

Atif Khan and Shahram Tarakai will not sit idle for long. They will try to strike back when situation changes. But they might have to wait for some time now. The current move to oust CM Mehmood Khan has been foiled. It seems that after the period of lull- this group will try to re-organise. The PTI leader has succeeded to overcome the current crisis but in the long run the situation seems unstable and volatile.

For time being-it is all over for this group. But factionalism and groupings within PTI will not be over. Pervaiz Khattak group has an upper hand in this fight. CM KPK has to accommodate the brother of Asad Qaiser and two other powerful figures within PTI to further isolate the Atif Khan led group. The speaker national assembly Asad Qaiser is trying hard to induct his younger brother in KPK cabinet but Mehmood Khan resisted this effort so far. 

The perception is that Atif Khan and Shahram Tarakai was trying to bring in house change with the help of some powerful elements. The PTI high command was not happy with these rebels for ignoring the leadership including PM Imran Khan.  

Atif Khan was considered favourite to become CM KPK after the July 2018 general elections and he was used to enjoy close relationship with Imran Khan. But Pervaiz Khattak led group within the PTI opposed him and instead proposed Mehmood Khan as CM.

It seems that Atif Khan lost the confidence of Imran Khan with the passage of time. Imran Khan once used to praise him as an honest politician. Atif Khan was minister of sports, culture and tourism in the cabinet.  Shahram held the charge of health whereas Shakeel was minister for revenue and estate department.

PTI has more than two thirds of majority in KPK assembly and opposition is not the position to cause any serious trouble to PTI government. CM Mehmood Khan was seemed in comfortable position unless this group came to the fore. 
The Atif Khan group has alleged the CM Mehmood Khan for poor governance and said corruption had increased in the province under his watch. They declared Mahmood Khan as Usman Buzdar Plus and accused his principal secretary and that of PM running the whole show in the province.

Mehmood khan has survived. He has struck back at his opponents forcefully. But the differences within the party are not over. There might be period of lull and silence before the differences re-emerged publically. The seeds of instability have been sewed in the process of quelling the current rebellion.   
                                                     Khalid Bhatti      


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