ISLAMABAD: Apart from other key post-election decisions, Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan faces a tough task of picking up at least ten top political appointees at the federal and provincial levels.
All of them will be staunchly associated with his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as has always been the unbreakable practice. Imran Khan will nominate four governors of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan. The incumbents were inducted by Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister.
Among them, Muhammad Zubair has already stepped down as the Sindh Governor, not quietly but by raising serious fingers at the genuineness of the general elections.
Balochistan Governor Muhammad Achakzai is on his way out. Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana and KP Governor Zafar Iqbal Jhagra will also go. If they did not resign on their own, they will in any case be replaced by the new prime minister.
Imran Khan will also select or has already chosen the next chief ministers and speakers of Punjab (if the PTI was successful in having its government in the majority province) and KP and the National Assembly.
He will have a partial role in picking up the Balochistan chief minister and speaker as his party will be a partner in the multiparty coalition in this province.
Besides, Imran Khan will make a number of appointments for his federal cabinet apart from choosing ministers for the cabinets of Punjab, KP and Balochistan. By making all these nominations, he will be able to accommodate a large number of his federal and provincial lawmakers, other key party figures and choice people.
Imran Khan is likely to have a smooth sailing in appointing the provincial governors. However, this will not be case in other nominations.
A tug of war is already hectically on in KP as former Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak has declared that he will quit politics if he was denied the same top executive office. He has also said that all the provincial lawmakers-elect support him. However, reports indicated some other preference, Atif Khan, of Imran Khan .
If Khattak stayed in KP or left politics in case of refusal to choosing him as the chief minister, the PTI would be deprived of a National Assembly seat as he was elected from both federal and KP seats in the July 25 elections.
Given the situation prevailing in KP, Imran Khan will have to take a difficult decision. However, the PTI, unlike the 2013 scenario, is in an exemplary numerical position in the KP Assembly due to its remarkable performance in the polls and doesn’t need prop of any parliamentary party to form government.
In Punjab where the PTI is working hard to rope in all the independent winners to cobble together a simple majority to have its provincial government and has been successful to a large extent, the choice of its nominee for the slot of the chief minister is not an easy job. It has become all the more hard when there are a number of aspirants, lobbying for the berth.
On one side is Abdul Aleem Khan, who is being backed by powerful Jehangir Tareen, who himself is disqualified to hold any public office. His son had raced out of the electoral race when he had decided not to contest the Lodhran seat.
On the other side is PTI Information Secretary Fawad Chaudhry. The third runner is Mian Mehmoodur Rashid, who worked as the opposition leader in the previous Punjab Assembly.
Dr Yasmin Rashid, who was defeated from NA-125 Lahore by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) representative Waheed Alam, is also being tipped for the top Punjab office. Her name is also being considered for the position of the Punjab Speaker or Governor.
Dr Yasmin Rashid’s name figures in both lists of special seats for the National and Punjab Assemblies sent by the PTI to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Neither the PTI nor the PML-N has any role in formation of government in Sindh where the PPP exclusively calls the shots due to its strong numerical strength.
In a good working relationship between the federal and provincial governments, governors are appointed by the central administration in consultation with the chief ministers. In Sindh, it will not be the case in view of lack of any rapport between the PTI and PPP. Therefore, the Imran Khan government is expected to go for the governor of its choice without taking the next Sindh setup on board.
The PTI chief has considered Mumtaz Bhutto’s name for some important office in Sindh. His selection as Sindh governor will exasperate the situation between the PTI and PPP from day one as the latter has been strongly opposed to him all the time. After remaining aligned with the PTI for some time, Mumtaz Bhutto dissociated himself from it before the July 25 elections.