PTI faces uphill battle in governing KP amid federal coalition challenges

KP is likely to face budgetary strains, security concerns in the days to come

PESHAWAR   -  In the February 8 general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidates have secured majority of the seats to form government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, the PTI may face challenges in governing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with a federal government led by the Pakistan Muslim League-N-Pakistan People’s Party coalition. 

The PML-N and PPP recent an­nounced at a press conference that they have agreed to form a coalition government in the center and Ba­lochistan. Like other provinces of Pa­kistan, more than half of Khyber Pa­khtunkhwa’s annual budget relies on funds from various federal sources.

If estimated, the budget of Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa largely depends on provincial taxes, National Finance Commission, net profits from elec­tricity, and gas royalties from the federal government. In the past, the PTI’s government in Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa has always complained that the federal government does not pro­vide the province with its due share.

However, in view of the govern­ment set-ups being formed, the eco­nomic situation in Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa may worsen, especially given the rivalry between the PTI-led KP and other parties in the center.

Even when PTI’s Mahmood Khan was chief minister in the former provincial government, he missed the meetings of Council of Common Interests. The current precarious economic situation in the province cannot withstand any experiment because on the one hand, there are billions of dollars in loans to be re­paid, while on the other, sometimes the province even lacks enough money to pay salaries to employees of various government departments. Under the such circumstances, the PTI may face problems in running its flagship project “Sehat Card” as it would require nearly Rs40 billion annually amid the rising inflationary spiral in the country.

In addition to issues regarding the distribution of funds between the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments, security issues may also be a major challenge for PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the days to come. The TTP and IS mil­itants have become more lethal as they have started using the mod­ern guns, left behind by the US-led forces in Afghanistan at the time of their withdrawal from the war-rav­aged country. Under such circum­stances, the KP police will definite­ly need funds for modern weapons.

If the PTI government in KP is not supported by the federal gov­ernment, the fight against extrem­ism will be a major challenge for the province. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can also become a center for the PTI for protests and any confrontation with the federal government, as has been witnessed in the past In conclu­sion, the PTI’s governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would face significant hurdles amidst shifting federal coali­tion dynamics, economic strains, and escalating security threats.

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