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April 29, 2019

Liaqat Khattak likely to be inducted into KP cabinet


April 29, 2019

NOWSHERA: Defence Minister Pervez Khattak’s younger brother Liaqat Khattak is expected to be inducted into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet today as minister for irrigation, sources said on Sunday.

The sources said that Liaqat Khattak would take oath as minister at the Governor’s House. Governor Shah Farman would administer him the oath. Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, it was learnt, has signed the summary to appoint Liaqat Khattak as minister and give him the irrigation portfolio. A notification would also be issued about the appointment of four advisers to the chief minister.

The advisers would also include a woman and a minority MPA. The present provincial cabinet doesn’t have a woman minister. Another advisor and a provincial minister are also expected to be appointed later.

Liaqat Khattak, who is the former district nazim of Nowshera, was elected to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in a by-election. He won the PK-64 Nowshera seat vacated by his brother, former chief minster Pervez Khattak. The latter preferred to retain his National Assembly seat to become the defence minister in the federal cabinet.

Pervez Khattak had won one National Assembly and two provincial assembly seats in the July 2018 general election. One of his provincial assembly seats was won by his son Ibrahim Khattak in the by-election. The award of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) tickets to his brother and son to contest the by-election had triggered a controversy.

The PTI had managed to win all the national and provincial assembly seats from Nowshera district in the 2018 polls. Pervez Khattak, it may be recalled, had unsuccessfully lobbied to become the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the second consecutive term after the PTI’s election victory in July 2018. However, PTI head Imran Khan wanted him to vacate his provincial assembly seat and retain the National Assembly’s seat as he needed more MNAs to form his government at the centre.

There have been rumours that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet could also undergo a major reshuffle. However, the PTI government has dismissed such rumours as baseless. The expansion of the KP cabinet has also been discussed in the media. It was reported that powerful political families affiliated with the PTI, including Pervez Khattak’s, was lobbying hard to get its members inducted into the provincial cabinet.

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