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Businessman from Fata to head KP interim govt

By Manzoor Ali 2018-05-27
PESHAWAR: As the government and opposition in three provinces have yet to reach a consensus on the names of caretaker chief minister, a businessman hailing from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was picked on Saturday to head the interim government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Manzoor Afridi, whose name has been finalised by KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and Leader of Opposition Maulana Lutfur Rehman for the caretaker chief minister, hails from Khyber Agency. He is a brother of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)SenatorAyubAfridi and a cousin of Senator Mirza Afridi, who joined Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after being elected to the upper house of parliament as an independent candidate.

While talking to reporters in Mardan, KP Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Mohammad Atif Khan said the government and opposition agreed on the name of Mr Afridi and that its formal announcement would be made soon.

Despite his family`s political links, Mr Afridi was little known in political circles before his name came up for the caretaker set-up, as he has been looking after his family business. In his 40s, the businessman along with his family had shifted to Lahore from Peshawar in 2006-07. Heacquired his early education in Pakistan before moving to Singapore where he also studied besides running the family business. He is also a cousin of Haier Pakistan and PSL Peshawar Zalmi franchise owner Javed Afridi.

While PTI sources insisted that Mr Afridi`s nomination for the seat of caretaker chief minister was linked with Fata`s merger with KP, a photo of him in which he shares the stage with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at a programme against Fata`s merger with KP has gone viral on social media.

Four nominations in Punjab As Friday talks between the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the provincial assembly belonging to the PTI Mian Mehmudur Rasheed remained inconclusive, the two sides decided to meet again on Monday evening to finalise the name of the caretaker chief minister.

Mr Rasheed had proposed the names of former chief secretary Kamran Rasool and Aptma Group Leader Gohar Ijaz while according to Geo News the names of retired Justice Sair Ali and ex-IGP Tariq Saleem Dogar had come from the PML-N government during the discussion.

Mr Sharif,who is also PML-N president, will be meeting the party supremo at his Jati Umra residence on Sunday (today) to finalise the ongoing consultation.

Five names shortlisted in Balochistan In Balochistan, the government and opposition could not reach a consensus on any name for the caretaker chief minister though the two sides decided to hold further discussion.Two rounds of talks have so far taken place between Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Leader of the Opposition in Balochistan Assembly Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal who belongs to Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party. In the first meeting, 16 names eight from each side were presented. After the second round of talks on Friday night, the shortlisted nominations of the government are Prince Ahmed Ali Ahmedzai, Mir Alauddin Marri and former advocate general Kamran Murtaza, while the opposition candidates are former provincial assembly speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhootani and former ambassador to the US Ashraf Jahangir Qazi.

No name finalised from either side in Sindh While efforts are being made through backchannel talks to reach a consensus on one name for the caretaker chief minister in Sindh, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah is likely to invite Leader of the Opposition in the provincial assembly Khwaja Izharul Hasan for a formal consultation by Monday.

Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah met at Bilawal House in Clifton to finalise the name of caretaker chief minister.

Sources said that the opposition side had not proposed any name so far for the caretaker chief minister though during an informal meeting the name of Af tab Shaikh was mentioned as their probable candidate.

Mansoor Malik from Lahore, Saleem Shahid from Quetta and Habib Khan Ghori from Karachi also contributed to this report.