Gandapur to contest for CM’s slot as independent

Gulzar Muhammad Khan & Arshad Aziz Malik
Monday, Feb 26, 2024

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister-designate Ali Amin Gandapur from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has decided to vie for the provincial chief executive office in an independent capacity instead of joining the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), The News learnt.

The PTI-supported independently elected members in the KP Assembly have joined the SIC to claim the seats reserved for women and minorities.

The sources said that Ali Amin Gandapur, who was elected as an independent in the recent general elections from Dera Ismail Khan, filed on Sunday the papers for the provincial president’s slot of the PTI for the intra-party elections slated for March 3.

Those privy to the party affairs said Ali Asghar, another party member, submitted papers for the provincial general secretary slot of the PTI.

However, Aqibullah Khan, who is the younger brother of the PTI senior leader, Asad Qaiser, and has been nominated by the party for the KP Assembly office, will contest for the position as a candidate of the SIC.

It was learnt that the chief minister-designate had shortlisted the names for the KP cabinet after hectic consultations. But a final announcement would be made after approval from the PTI founding chairman Imran Khan.

It was gathered that several names were under consideration by the PTI for the deputy speaker position. The name of the selected candidate is expected to be unveiled today (Monday).

The opposition parties, on the other hand, decided not to leave the field open to the PTI and announced to put up candidates for the chief minister, speaker, and deputy speaker slots.

The opposition parties would come up with unanimous aspirants for the three offices. An announcement to this effect is expected to me made after a meeting of the opposition parties.

When approached, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) provincial spokesman, Abdul Jalil Jan, said neither Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz nor Pakistan People’s Party had contacted his party leadership so far over the election of the chief minister, speaker, and deputy speaker of the KP Assembly. “The party leadership will have a meeting on Tuesday to chalk out a strategy for the KP Assembly [maiden] session,” said the JUIF spokesman. It is worth mentioning here that KP Governor Ghulam Ali has summoned the provincial assembly session for February 28 at 11 am as recommended by Caretaker Chief Minister Syed Arshad Hussain Shah.

The maiden session of the KP Assembly would see the oath-taking of the Members Provincial Assembly-elect.

The house will elect the speaker and deputy speaker to be followed by the election of the leader of the house – the chief minister.

The sources said the opposition parties had decided, in principle, to register protests both inside and outside the KP Assembly during the provincial legislature session. Meanwhile, nominated Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ali Amin Gananpur has said that he will contest the chief minister election as an independent candidate. The members of the Tehreek-e-Insaf Provincial Assembly included in the Sunni Ittehad Council will elect him by voting. While talking to The News, he said that Imran Khan, founder chairman of PTI, had instructed him to participate in the party’s elections, so he will also contest the election of provincial president in the intra-party election. He said that in the case of legally joining the Sunni Unity Council; He could not participate in PTI’s intra-party elections. Therefore, now he will participate in the election for the post of Chief Minister as an independent candidate. He said that all the other candidates participating in the intra-party election have not joined any other party. He said that consultation for the provincial cabinet is ongoing, but the final decision will be taken by Imran Khan.