KP tussle

Published May 17, 2024

THE growing war of words between KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and Governor Faisal Karim Kundi is affecting governance in the province and vitiating the atmosphere at a time when combined efforts of the provincial administration and the centre are needed to address KP’s myriad issues. The latest development in this exchange has been the provincial government’s decision to bar Mr Kundi from using KP House in Islamabad. Moreover, Mr Gandapur has threatened to take over the federally run provincial power distribution company over the issue of excessive outages. The CM, who belongs to the PTI, is not known for his political sangfroid and has hardly had a smooth relationship with the PML-N-led federal government. But his spat with Mr Kundi, who is a PPP member, is taking an unsavoury turn, with the governor also at times using intemperate language.

Testy relations between the centre and provincial administrations are part of this country’s political history, especially when different parties are running Islamabad and the provinces. For example, during Benazir Bhutto’s first stint in PM House, ties with the Nawaz Sharif-led Punjab government were often frosty. Similarly, when the PPP government was in power after the 2008 polls, relations with the Shehbaz Sharif-led Punjab administration could get downright toxic, with the centre imposing governor’s rule in the province in 2009. Yet there are also positive examples in this regard. For instance, during the PDM’s tenure, the prime minister and then president Arif Alvi maintained a working relationship, even though the PDM had ousted Mr Alvi’s party from power. Therefore, both constitutional officeholders in KP need to adopt the path of dialogue rather than confrontation. Both men belong to different parties, and hail from the same district — Dera Ismail Khan — and localised political rivalries are likely having an impact on their relationship. But the KP CM and governor need to take the high road, shun petty differences, and maintain working relations.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2024

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