PESHAWAR: There is little chance of reconciliation between Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan and former senior minister Mohammad Atif Khan at this stage due to their distrust.
Sources close to the top minister told The News that there are no plans to reinstall Atif Khan, Pakistan’s ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader, in the cabinet. “Not all!” The source said when asked if Atif Khan could be appointed minister again after being fired some nine months ago. They say the chief minister has long tolerated Atif Khan’s critical comments and maneuvers while he was in the cabinet and got him fired by filing a complaint with Prime Minister Imran Khan as a last resort.
On the other hand, Atif Khan made it clear that he didn’t want to return to the cabinet. “I have been a minister for seven years, so it wasn’t something I wanted to do. I will agree to become a minister again if Imran Khan asks me, ”he argued when approached by this writer.
According to Atif Khan, certain PTI figures wanted him to reconcile with the chief minister and rejoin the cabinet to help the government fulfill its promises and improve governance. However, he felt that the chief minister did not want him to enter the cabinet, even though he was also not interested in becoming a minister in such a situation. “I serve PTI to the best of my ability. I have no corruption charges against me, ”he stressed, adding that he can now devote more time to his business activities and spend two days each week in the Mardan constituency keeping in touch with his supporters.
The sources mentioned above said there was also no chance of reinstating Shakeel Ahmad, a member of the PTI parliament from Malakand district who was minister of revenue when he was removed from the cabinet along with Atif Khan and Shahram Khan Tarakai in January this year on disciplinary grounds. They claim the sacked ministers have tried to use their contacts to return to the cabinet, but the top ministers have been empowered to decide their fate after being empowered by the Prime Minister.
Shahram Tarakai, who comes from a wealthy and influential political family from Swabi, was finally reinstated in the cabinet in September. His father, Liaqat Tarakai is a Senator, his uncle Usman Tarakai is a foreigner while another uncle Mohammad Ali Tarakai is an MPA. The PTI government cannot ignore Tarakai, which has four members of parliament and played a key role in defeating Swabi’s Awami National Party (ANP) in all of its recent elections.
However, Shahram Tarakai had to wait weeks before being awarded a portfolio and that was not his choice either. He reportedly wants health, a portfolio he held before his dismissal, or local government he managed previously. Instead, he was appointed minister of primary and secondary education, which was not insignificant.
Atif Khan, Shahram Tarakai and Shakeel Ahmad were escorted to the door after being accused of conspiring against the chief minister and setting up their own group in PTI. The three of them denied the accusation. It came as a surprise that Atif Khan was considered close to Imran Khan and was even considered the next chief minister after the spectacular PTI victory in the July 2018 general election that shocked everyone because voters in the province never returned. vote for any ruling party in the past.
Atif Khan and Shahram Tarakai in their media appearances at the time stated that they were concerned about the allegations of corruption and bad governance being made against the provincial government and wanted the chief minister to take steps to improve the situation. Later, they were invited by the prime minister to attend what was called a reconciliation effort amid media reports that the two former ministers could be reinstated. This did not happen when Mahmood Khan stepped in and made it clear with the backing of the prime minister that he would only reinstall dismissed ministers on his terms and share their portfolios as he wished.