Azam Khan sworn in as caretaker CM of Pak’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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Peshawar: Former bureaucrat Muhammad Azam Khan was sworn in as the caretaker chief minister of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province at a ceremony held here on Saturday.

Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Haji Ghulam Ali administered oath to Khan, whose name for the role was finalised after talks between outgoing chief minister Mahmood Khan and leader of the Opposition Akram Khan Durrani.

The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Governor House in Peshawar and was attended by civil and military officials. Earlier on Saturday, Ali formally appointed Khan as the caretaker chief minister of the province in the interim set-up.

Khan has previously served as the finance minister of the province. He was also the chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from September 1990 to July 1993.

Khan’s name was announced at a joint press conference by outgoing chief minister Khan and Durrani.

“We decided on Azam Khan’s name after consultation with our leader,” Khan said.

“We agreed on Azam Khan as our consensus candidate. We have chosen a person who is acceptable to all,” Durrani was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune newspaper.

He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former defence minister Pervez Khattak played an important role in reaching the consensus.

Talking to reporters after the appointment, Khan vowed to extend “complete cooperation” to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding “free and fair elections” in the province.

He said that efforts would be made to further strengthen the security situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and control inflation in the province, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly stood dissolved on Wednesday after the governor signed and approved the chief minister’s summary on the orders of PTI chief and ex-premier of Pakistan Imran Khan for the dissolution of the provincial legislature.

The government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday sent a summary to the governor for the approval of the dissolution of the provincial assembly before midnight, a move aimed at forcing the federal government to announce snap polls.

“In pursuance of provisions of Article 112(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan, I do hereby forward my advice for dissolution of the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 17th January 2023,” outgoing chief minister Khan said in a statement.

The KP Assembly was dissolved almost months before the expiry of its mandated period. The current assembly was to expire on August 13 this year.

On January 14, the Punjab Assembly was dissolved despite the Punjab governor’s refusal to sign the summary for the provincial assembly’s dissolution.

Former premier Khan in a bid to force the government to hold early general elections ordered the dissolution of provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Political pundits believe that the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is in no mood to succumb to pressure from Khan whatsoever for holding general elections in the country before the expiry of the scheduled time in August this year.

The federal government will straight away go for holding elections in two provinces – Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – after the dissolution of the assemblies.

Federal Information Minister Maryum Aurangzeb has clearly stated that general elections as per the constitution of the country will be held in October this year.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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