PESHAWAR: At least 19 members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s caretaker cabinet on Thursday tendered their resignations to interim chief minister Azam Khan, which were prompted by their purpor­ted involvement in politics.

Sources told Dawn that the caretaker CM received the resignations from caretaker ministers over a cup of tea. “Not that the caretaker members resigned but the resignations were demanded by the caretaker chief minister as [at least] two members of the caretaker cabinet resisted by saying they were not involved in politics neither did they hold any political gathering,” they added.

The exodus comes after a caretaker minister, Shahid Khattak, quit the cabinet on July 24 over ‘personal commitment’ soon after he addressed a political gathering organised by the Awami National Party. The participation of the interim minister in the political gathering evoked a strong response from the Elec­tion Commission of Pakistan on July 23. A day after, Mr Khattak stepped down.

“This is…when ECP asked Azam Khan to sack all those [cabinet members] involved in politics,” sources said, adding there were credible reports that the decision to introduce a new caretaker set-up had already been taken in view of the political affiliation of most caretaker ministers.

 

 

When contacted, caretaker minister for information Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel said that the decision was taken when the ECP wrote a letter to Mr Khan, asking him to immediately sack his ministers, advisers and special assistants “involved in politics” to ensure free and fair polls in the province.

On July 31, the ECP wrote a letter and asked the caretaker chief minister that it was bound by Article 218(3) of the Constitution to organise and conduct elections in a free, fair, transparent and impartial manner.

‘Resignation or de-notification’

“Nineteen members of the caretaker cabinet have submitted their resignations to the caretaker chief minister during a meeting held in the provincial capital [on Thursday],” Mr Kakakhel confirmed.

According to Mr Kakakehl, three out of the five remaining cabinet members were out of town and had told the CM that they would submit their resignations on Thursday night.

“Today [Thursday night] is the last night of the caretaker cabinet. The chief minister will be sending the summary along with the resignations of those who have already resigned to Governor Ghulam Ali,” he said, adding that those who failed to submit their resignation on Thursday night would be de-notified today.

A total of 14 ministers, four advisers and six special assistants remained part of the caretaker cabinet. Two members of the caretaker cabinet, including Adnan Jalil and Shahid Khattak had resigned. Mr Khattak has already been awarded a ticket by ANP for contesting general elections for the provincial assembly from PK-86 Nowshera.

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