Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which formed coalition government in militancy-battered Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on May 31, 2013, still seems in confusion as described by its detractors. The latest ‘confusion’ is the reshuffle in the provincial cabinet.
The already large cabinet swelled further as five new ministers were given a green signal to join it. The new ministers include Ziaullah Afridi, Mushtaq Ghani, Qalandar Lodhi, Jamshed Kakakhel and Ikramullah Gandapur. Their portfolios are yet to be announced. Moreover, three lawmakers — Amjad Afridi, Shakil Khan and Akbar Ayub — were made advisors to the chief minister.
After the most recent reshuffling, the PTI has managed to get the lion’s share, by having four ministers, three advisers and four special assistants. Awami Jamhoori Ittehad, another coalition partner, obtained a post of senior minister and special assistant while Jamaat-e-Islami got nothing.
The man at the receiving end in the wake of the reshuffle is no other than Shaukat Yousafzai. He was earlier holding the portfolio of health and now has been given the portfolio of ministry of industries.
The portfolio of Yousafzai has been reshuffled for the second time. In the beginning, he was made provincial information minister and two months later he was made health minister, but now he will run the affairs of the ministry of industries.
The KP government Spokesman Shah Farman during a press briefing, wherein he announced the cabinet reshuffle, claimed that reshuffle was based on the principle of performance.
Here rises a very important question: If Yousafzai was not capable enough to run the health ministry then why was he given a chance to wreak havoc with the ministry of industries? The industrial sector of the province is already on the verge of collapse owing to the deteriorated law and order situation.
According to Zahidullah Shinwari, president Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, dozens of businessmen have shifted from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to other provinces due to the burgeoning trend of kidnappings and extortion.
The PTI government kicked out ministers of Quami Watan Party in November 2013, alleging them to have been involved in corrupt practices. However, not a single proof of their corruption has so far been made public, which also raises many questions.
But in the case of Yousafzai, the critics say the party has shown leniency and instead of removing him from the cabinet for his alleged corruption, only his portfolio has been changed.
Reports are also circulating in the provincial metropolis that Yousafzai paid the price for not complying with the orders of a Punjab-based powerful lobby of the party, which wanted him to dance to its tune. Whether it is because of intra-party wrangling or poor performance, it has exposed the party to criticism.
If one accepts that it was due to poor performance then how can he be given portfolio of another ministry? This is the point that gives credence to the assertion of its detractors who say it is the party of the confused people.
The detractors are also of the opinion that testing new faces to run the ministries is not a step in the right direction. Shah Farman has already said that another ‘performance-based’ reshuffle may happen in the coming six months if the ministers failed to deliver, meaning that the party will continue giving the charge of the ministries to naive lawmakers.
Imran Khan seems to making endeavours to make his ministers ‘all-rounders’ but at the end of the day we may have jack of all trades but master of none. The rapid reshuffling will certainly affect performance of the departments on one side, while on the other it will also damage the party, as the PTI workers and even office-bearers have expressed unwillingness over giving portfolio of health ministry to a coalition partner. Apart from that, some of the PTI lawmakers seeking berths in the provincial cabinet are certainly unhappy for not picking them up for the job.