PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday changed the portfolio of home minister Mehmood Khan and made him the minister for sports, culture, archeology, museums and youth affairs department.
Mehmood Khan was appointed home minister on Jan 19.
A notification issued by the administration department stated, “in partial modification of the department notification dated, January 19, 2016 and in exercise of powers conferred by the sub-rule 4 of the rule 3 of the KP government Rules of Business 1985, the chief minister KP is pleased to assign portfolio of Sports, Culture, Archeology, Museums and Youth Affairs department to Mr. Mehmood Khan provincial minister with immediate effect.”
Sources said Mehmood Khan was not happy with the home department portfolio from the outset.
Official insists unhappy Mehmood Khan requested CM for change in portfolio
An official requesting anonymity told Dawn that Mr. Mehmood was not happy with his portfolio and therefore, it was changed at his request.
“He had requested Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to change his department, which he accepted,” he said.
Another official said Mr. Mehmood usually described himself as minister on special duty to equate his department with the government officials made officers on special duty (OSDs).
However, sources close to Mr. Mehmood said the ongoing tug of war between the provincial civilian bureaucracy and police department over the proposed Police Act was also a major reason behind the portfolio change.
A source said Mr. Mehmood strongly felt he was unable to deal with the ‘choppy waters of bureaucratic wrangling’ and that only the chief minister was qualified enough to do the job.
He said the former home minister opined he couldn’t put up with what was going on between top bureaucracy and police department, which would leave him with little time to focus on his constituency and electorates.
“As a home minister, he would have to be too much pre-occupied with this issue, which may go on for months despite being of little relevance to his electorates,” he said.
The source said Mr. Mehmood was mindful of the sensitivity of heading the home department, which imposed certain restrictions on his free movement as well as security problems it could create for him.
Interestingly, things have come full circle for Mr. Mehmood as he headed the sports department before he was handed over the irrigation department in 2014.
He however lost the portfolio to Qaumi Watan Party parliamentary leader Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao under a power-sharing deal between the PTI and the QWP after the latter rejoined the government in October last year.
The PTI deal with the QWP left him as the minister without portfolio until January when he was made the home minister.
He was the first home minister under any elected government in the recent past as usually this portfolio is kept by the chief minister.
In 2007, KP had a home minister under in the caretaker government of Shamusl Mulk.
The home department will again go back to the chief minister.
Mr. Mehmood could not be reached despite repeated attempts.
Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2016