PESHAWAR: Differences over allocation of funds for schemes and appointments have rocked working relations between Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and his two key cabinet members.

Insiders said that Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Atif Khan and Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai had ganged up against Mr Khattak and stopped attending meetings with the chief minister.

Atif Khan, who is considered a close lieutenant of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, had alleged that chief minister was supporting rival groups in his (Atif) home constituency, according to sources.

The two ministers, Atif Khan and Shahram Khan Tarakai, who are close relatives, held a meeting with Imran Khan and offered him that they were ready to step down as ministers.

KP Assembly speaker making efforts for reconciliation

“Imran Khan told them that they should hold their guns for the time being as the Panamagate case verdict was in process,” said a source privy to the developments.

MPA Mohammad Ali Tarakai, elder brother of Shahram Tarakai, issued a statement on Wednesday and alleged that chief minister was not following the party manifesto and they had serious reservations about him.

“The matters of the government are not proceeding in the right direction and performance of chief minister regarding allocation of funds and fresh appointments is not impressive,” said the statement.

Mohammad Ali Tarakai said that five MPAs and one MNA of Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) had joined PTI because of similarities in the manifestoes of the two parties.

But the chief minister was not working according to the manifesto and he gave preference to his own personal matters, he said, adding that all those matters would be brought into the notice of Imran Khan.

Tarakai family had announced merger of AJIP with PTI in November 2015, but the parties had so far not fulfilled the legal requirements with the Election Commission of Pakistan. Imran Khan had visited Tarakai House where all MPAs and an MNA announced joining the PTI. Ramazan, a spokesman for the Tarakai family, told Dawn that after Mohammad Ali’s statement, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar started negotiations to resolve Tarakais’ differences with Pervez Khattak.

“Almost 70 per cent issues have been resolved after intervention by the speaker and the two ministers are likely to meet the chief minister today (Thursday) to address the remaining problems,” said Ramazan. He acknowledged that Tarakai family had differences with the chief minister over allocation of funds and appointments.

Minister for Information Shah Farman was not available for comments as his mobile phone was switched off.

Insiders said that situation further aggravated when Mr Khattak stopped re-appropriation of development funds worth Rs 500 million for Mardan district, the hometown of Provincial Minister Atif Khan.

They said that Khattak’s move annoyed Atif Khan and he warned in a public meeting that he would not allow anyone to indulge in corrupt practices Similarly, the chief minister also released funds to MPA Babar Saleem in Swabi, a political rival of Tarakai family.

It is learnt that both ministers had lodged protest with the chief minister and stopped official meetings. Minister Atif, sources said, had also complained that Pervez Khattak was supporting his (Atif) rivals in Mardan and awarding them contracts.

Sources said that Mr Khattak had his eyes on slot of chief minister for second time after 2018 general elections therefore he wanted to consolidate his position and remove every hurdle in his way.

However, they said that Atif was also in the race for the coveted slot and making ground to get rid of Pervez Khattak on one pretext or other.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2017