PESHAWAR: The opposition of donor agencies to give the education department in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa coalition government to Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) is delaying the formation of the provincial cabinet, it is learned.
“Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had agreed to give education department to JI in its meetings after elections but is now requesting it to give up claim to it after the objection of donor agencies, including DFID, which pumps millions for development of the province’s education,” an insider told Dawn on Wednesday.
However, the donors’ fears were allayed when informed that the JI nominee to get the education portfolios was a former KP health minister with whom they had good relations.
“We have worked with the person who is supposed to head the education department on behalf of the JI in the KP government. His work had been excellent and we don’t have any objection to his being at the helm,” a source in another donor agency working in the health and education department with the KP government, said.
Officials of World Bank also verified the credential of the former health minister and said that the donors should expect good from the party in view of his performance during a five-year (2002-2007) tenure in the ministry, sources said.
A fortnight ago, when the news broke out that PTI had agreed to give education department to the JI, a well-coordinated campaign on social media began stating that the JI would radicalise the education department, spurring donor agencies to reach top PTI leadership and express their reservations, sources said.
“The donors are convinced and have no problem with JI to hold education department in the provincial setup but the PTI is now requesting the JI give up claim on the education ministry,” they said.
PTI chairman Imran Khan had requested a JI delegation recently that he had worked in education sector for the past 15 years and now wants to replicate his success in KP.
“Donors couldn’t influence the PTI decisions but it wants to enforce its reform programme,” a source quoted Imran Khan as telling a JI delegation.
JI had argued that it had similar programme to reform the education department and would do its level best to teach the students on modern lines, sources said.
The JI had also argued that would run the department that comes under the PTI-led government which will oversee its performance.
“We have a lot of experience in education and want to use the same for the people of this province. We have conveyed to PTI that we will run the department in accordance with the PTI's expectations,” they said.
PTI hadn’t refused to give the education ministry to JI but had requested it to take another ministry instead and let it run, sources said.
Both the parties were determined to hammer out differences as soon as possible to form the provincial cabinet and began work towards implementation of their programme, they said.
When contacted, senior JI leader Professor Ibrahim Khan said there was no deadlock between PTI and his party on the education department and that his party would finally get it.
“We and PTI have same programmes and would strive to implement through united efforts. We will get education and finance ministry according to our arrangements,” he said.
Professor Ibrahim said the ministries couldn’t be a block between the two parties.
“Today, we met with chief minister and discussed with him the problems faced by the people. The issue of ministries didn’t come under discussion,” he said.