PESHAWAR: After much ado, the Qaumi Watan Party rejoined the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday with two of its lawmakers inducted in the provincial cabinet, raising its strength to 15.
K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak must be all smiles. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s position is more dominant than ever. QWP leaders Sikandar Hayat Sherpao and Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli took their oath of office during a ceremony held at the Governor House. Two more QWP lawmakers – Arshad Umarzai and Abdul Karim Khan – have been appointed as CM Pervez’s advisers.
Sikandar has been allotted the interior affairs and irrigation portfolios while Anisa will be looking after the ministries of mines and mineral development and labour. Abdul Karim was allocated the industries ministry and Arshad will look after the technical education department.
This is the second time the QWP has become a part of the PTI-led K-P coalition government. In November 2013, the CM had sacked two QWP ministers – Bakht Baidar Khan and Ibrar Hussain Tanoli – on charges of corruption. The QWP then quit the coalition.
In September, both the parties signed an agreement in Islamabad allowing QWP to rejoin the government. They also agreed to cooperate with each other in larger interest of the province.
The erstwhile minister for information and higher education, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani who was removed from office to allow the induction of QWP ministers, did not attend the oath-taking ceremony.
Insiders told The Express Tribune that Mushtaq has reportedly been offered a special assistant post. After QWP’s return, the PTI in general and CM Pervez in particular are in a much stronger position. This will only increase once Awami Jamhoori Ittehad declares its expected merger with the PTI.
The PTI and QWP have both suffered since after breaking away in November 2013. QWP chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and CM Pervez have known each other for long. The breakup had also affected their friendship. Moreover, the parties suffered in the first phase of local government elections when the main opposition parties emerged strongly in around 13 out of 24 K-P districts
In fact, soon after the polls, reports of a re-alliance between PTI and QWP made the headlines. At first PTI Chairman Imran Khan and several more party stalwarts opposed the idea but later CM Pervez succeeded in convincing his colleagues.
Earlier from June 2013 till November 2013, the QWP had three ministerial berths. This time, the party has agreed over four offices, including two ministries.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.