PERVEZ Khattak appears to be living up to his malang billing by Imran Khan. Only someone in a state of ecstasy could so nonchalantly defy all that has been said about him and his style of rule. First, he was unmoved by all those objections about him holding the party office along with his position as chief minister, and even now, in the wake of criticism of his expanding government, he refuses to come out of his state of post-victory euphoria. Then the induction of 32 parliamentary secretaries to aid a battery of ministers and advisers means almost all treasury members in the province now have a taste of power. Since there are three major shareholders in the KP government, the critics say that if they cannot agree and reconcile to a small cabinet, it would be that much more difficult for a coalition consisting of a larger number of parties to resist gifting ministries to keep everyone happy. These reservations have not ruffled Mr Khattak. He is trying to keep everyone happy and this collective happiness will eventually translate into some people-friendly steps.

Those who must always object have sought refuge in the old and often unnecessary principle that every appointment has to be backed by the law. They say KP doesn’t have a law to justify a parliamentary secretary — not one, not 32 of them. Then again, the same critics concede there is a precedent in that Punjab has a law that provides for parliamentary secretaries. One may go on citing this instance as proof that Mr Khattak gets his directions from someone who is more familiar with the rules in Lahore. A fairer option would be to stand by a smaller province’s right to follow the big brother.

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