PESHAWAR: The caretaker setup’s installation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was referred to a six-member parliamentary committee on Friday after Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and Leader of the Opposition in the provincial Assembly Maulana Lutfur Rehman failed to develop consensus about it.

The parliamentary committee comprises three members of the outgoing assembly from ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and three from Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl.

Speaker Asad Qaisar will formally notify the committee.

Ignored opposition parties, JI reject committee, allege pre-poll rigging

Former ministers Atif Khan, Shah Farman and Mehmood Khan belong to the PTI, while Mufti Fazal Ghafoor, Noor Saleem Marwat and Mehmood Batni hail from the JUI-F.

The opposition parties and Jamaat-i-Islami, former coalition partner of the PTI, were not given representation in the committee.

Reacting to the formation of the committee, four parties of the opposition and JI, which is the ally of JUI-F in the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, rejected parliamentary committee and termed it pre-poll rigging.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the opposition leader’s chamber, former parliamentary leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Awami National Party and Qaumi Watan Party, former Pakistan Peoples Party MPA and JI leader expressed serious reservations about the committee and the panel was unacceptable to the opposition parties.

They urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to intervene to prevent pre-poll rigging.

“Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and Opposition Leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman have struck a deal to install Manzoor Afridi, a little known and inexperienced person, as the caretaker chief minister,” said former ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak.

He said Pervez Khattak and Maulana Rehman were trying to impose their nominee to head the caretaker setup in the province.

Mr Babak said the chief minister and opposition leader had created an artificial deadlock in KP and intentionally wasted three days.

He alleged that PTI was trying to promote culture of ‘ATM Culture’ in politics and Pervez Khattak and Maulana Rehman were trying to make the caretaker setup controversial.

The ANP leader said Lutfur Rehman was unanimously elected as the leader of opposition but now he had joined hands with Pervez Khattak.

The relevant officials said Pervez Khattak and Maulana Rehman failed to develop consensus about the appointment of the caretaker chief minister and therefore, the parliamentary committee would choose one name for the slot.

The JUI-F has proposed names of Manzoor Afridi, a young entrepreneur and younger brother of PTI Senator Ayub Afridi and former Supreme Court judge Justice Dost Mohammad Khan, who had also served as the Peshawar High Court chief justice.

The PTI has recommended names of former accountant general Himayatullah Khan and former chief secretary Ijaz Qureshi for the slot.

The JUI-F had earlier proposed Manzoor Afridi and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had endorsed his candidacy. Following his nomination Mr Afridi had a courtesy meeting with PTI chairman Imran Khan in his Banigala mansion.

The opposition parties in the KP Assembly protested against the nomination of Mr Afridi and alleged that both Pervez Khattak and Maulana Rehman had received money from him (Afridi).

Following an outcry on the social media and allegations by opposition parties, the PTI chief rejected Mr Afridi for the slot.

However, the JUI-F refused to withdraw the name of its nominee.

Article 224 (2) of the Constitution reads: “In case a Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Provincial Assembly do not agree on any person to be appointed as the caretaker Chief Minister within three days of the dissolution of that Assembly, they shall forward two nominees each to a Committee to be immediately constituted by the Speaker of the Provincial Assembly, comprising six members of the outgoing Provincial Assembly having equal representation from the Treasury and the Opposition, to be nominated by the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition respectively.”

If the parliamentary committee fails to develop consensus about the appointment of the caretaker chief minister within three days, the matter will be referred to the ECP to nominate on person for the slot from among four names recommended by the committee.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2018