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PESHAWAR: As the chief of the ruling PTI, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called 12 ministerial hopefuls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Islamabad today (Tuesday) for interview, said sources in the ruling PTI.

PTI MPA Mehmood Khan had taken oath as the chief minister on Friday but the party has kept mum over the cabinet nominations.

The PTI insiders claimed that members of the provincial cabinet would be named after the Eidul Azha holidays.

The sources said a tentative list of 12 lawmakers was earlier submitted to the PTI chairman for approval.

They said the list had suggested two ministries each for Malakand and Peshawar and one each from Mardan, Swabi, Bannu, Hazara and Nowshera districts.

Insiders claim cabinet likely to be named after Eid holidays

The sources said besides nine ministerial candidates, a member from Lakki Marwat was proposed as adviser to the chief minister. They said Swat MPA Dr Amjad Ali Khan, who was part of the previous cabinet, was also on the list.

The sources said Dr Amjad was considered to be close to Chief Minister Mehmood Khan.

They said it was the opposition of the party’s Malakand lawmakers, which blocked the nomination of Mohammad Atif Khan as the chief minister and paving the way of Mehmood Khan for the coveted slot.

The sources said Shakeel Khan, another lawmaker from Malakand protected area, was also on the list. He was also part of the last provincial cabinet as special assistant on population.

From Peshawar, new lawmaker Taimur Saleem Jhagra and former environment minister Ishtiaq Urmur are also ministerial hopefuls.

Mr Jhagra, a management professional-turned-politician, was considered to be an aspirant for the chief minister’s post.

As a special assistant on environment, Mr Urmur had spearheaded the KP government’s flagship Billion Tree Tsunami afforestation initiative. After the completion of the programme, he was made a full-time minister in recognition of his services.

Two senior PTI leaders, including Mohammad Atif Khan and Shahram Khan Tarakai, are also said to be among the ministerial candidates.

Mr Atif was earlier tipped as the frontrunner for the chief minister’s post.

Sources said the PTI chairman opted for Mehmood Khan after former CM Pervez Khattak strongly advocated his appointment.

Mr Atif had served as the elementary and secondary education minister in the last Khattak cabinet.

Shahram Khan Tarakai, who was senior minister for health in the last cabinet, is said to be close to Mr Atif Khan.

The sources said one of them would get the local government ministry, one of the largest ministries, while the finance and planning and development would go to the other.

Shah Mohammad Khan, former special assistant for transport from Bannu, is also on the list, while Arshad Ayub and Akbar Ayub, two brothers from Haripur, are among ministerial hopefuls. However, only one of them will get the ministry.

From Nowshera, former minister Mian Jamsheduddin and Mian Khaleequr Rehman are also in the running for ministries but one of them will be picked as minister.

Another ministerial berth from the district will be filled after Pervez Khattak’s son or brother returns to the house by winning by-polls.

Hisham Inamullah from Lakki Marwat is being named as adviser.

The source said a small cabinet would be announced in the first phase, while advisers and special assistants were likely to be announced later.

A senior party leader said the cabinet’s announcement was likely after Eid.

He said no list of ministers had been submitted to Imran Khan for approval.

Shaukat Yousafzai, the spokesman for KP government, didn’t respond to repeated telephonic calls and texts.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2018