PESHAWAR - Nine caretaker ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took the oath of their offices on Saturday amid a caretaker setup largely managed by Governor Ghulam Ali. Governor Ghulam Ali administered the oath to the new interim cabinet at the Governor House, where Caretaker Chief Minister Mohammad Azam Khan, IGP Akhtar Hayat Khan, and officials from various government departments were also present.
The ministers include Syed Masud Shah, Barrister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel, retired Justice Irshad Qaiser, Ahmad Rasool Bangash, Asif Rafiq, Dr Najeebullah, Dr Mohammad Qasim Jan, retired Justice Arshad Hussain Shah, and Syed Aamir Abdullah. Additionally, Dr Riaz Anwar and Dr Sarfaraz Ali Shah will serve as advisers to the CM, while Zafarullah Khan will be a special assistant. Due to their alleged participation in politics, 19 members of the previous caretaker administration submitted their resignations to the CM on August 10. The other six members left the next day.
On July 31, the ECP sent the caretaker CM a letter informing him that Article 218(3) of the Constitution requires his administration to arrange and conduct elections in a free, fair, transparent, and impartial manner. It stated that all of Khan’s cabinet members involved in politics had to be removed. On August 12, Governor Ghulam Ali accepted the resignations of 11 CM assistants, six special assistants, and 14 ministers, including five advisers and six special assistants.
Masud Shah, Kakakhel, retired Justice Qaiser, and Dr Anwar are familiar faces in the current government because they were previously members of the previous caretaker ministry. Former Chief Justice of the Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court and a member of the Hazara ethnic group, retired Justice Qaiser also held the position of Pakistan’s deputy attorney general.
Zafarullah is a former police officer, while Mohammad Qasim Jan specializes in education.
Dr Najeebullah is the founding director of the US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Energy and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He has also worked as a consultant for the UNDP, served as the project director of the University of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Swat, and created a 10-year energy plan for the former Fata.
Dr Najeebullah has recently been serving as a member (Science, Technology, and ICT) at the Pakistani Planning Commission.
It’s worth mentioning that rumours about a change of governor and chief minister have also been circulating for the last several weeks. The interim chief minister, Azam Khan, being an elderly person, often remains off the scene, and official matters, and Governor Ghulam is accused of influencing all government affairs. The leaders of ANP, PPP, and PMLN have recently issued statements criticizing the governor for allegedly influencing the caretaker setup and upcoming elections in favour of his party in Peshawar and other districts.
However, the governor has told the media that because the chief minister is a senior citizen and cannot attend to all affairs, he has to handle many things himself out of compulsion.