ISLAMABAD - Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan yesterday tendered resignation from his post to rejoin the parliamentary politics.
A veteran Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader, who had served the party in various capacity in his career spanning over three decades, had handed over his resignation to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which was duly accepted as the matter was discussed and agreed upon between the two in the recent past.
Sources in the party informed that almost a month back Sardar Mehtab had expressed his desire to reland in parliamentary politics to the prime minister which the latter had not accepted and advised him to reconsider his decision, but when the former insisted on his point Nawaz Sharif was left with no choice but to accept the decision.
Before leaving for Islamabad from Peshawar during a media chat Sardar Mehtab said that it was his own desire to relinquish the position of KP governor and rubbishes the impression that he was forced out of the office owing to some hidden reasons.
Sardar Mehtab was sworn in Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhawa on April 14, 2014 and for becoming governor he had relinquished his membership of Provincial Assembly as well as the slot of Leader of Opposition in KP Assembly, the slot tactfully snatched by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) group by smartly outwitting PML-N.
Sources in the ruling PML-N informed The Nation that during the meeting with the PM Sardar Mehtab also discussed the party’s choices of his replacement and a few names figured in the meeting including party’s provincial chief Pir Sabir Shah, Adviser to PM Engineer Amir Muqam and a few retired army generals.
The names of party’s central Secretary General Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and party’s Senator Lt Gen (r) Saluddin Tirmizi are also among the aspirants for the slot but an insider in the party informed that PML-N could not afford to vacate the Senate seat from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as they would be losing it to PTI government because of their majority in the Provincial Assembly, an electoral college for the Senate elections in the province.
However, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra could be the choice of party as he was elected Senator from Islamabad and the seat vacated by him could be easily retained by the party. But party sources said that as Iqbal Zafar Jhagra is central Secretary General of the party the party could not afford to dissociate him from the party politics, a basic requisite for the slot of governor .
Sources in the party said that most likely the slot could be offered to some apolitical person, most likely some retired General, owing to the extensive engagement of the Governor with military people because of the ongoing military operation in Tribal Areas.
About the stepping down of Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan from the slot of Governor a senior party leader informed The Nation that he had convinced the Prime Minister on the point that his presence in Hazara would be necessary to prepare ground for the party for next general elections.
The Prime Minister was convinced that for strengthening of party position in Hazara it would be necessary that senior party leaders like Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan are present and that was the reason he had accepted his resignation, the party leader added.
Affiliated with PML-N, Sardar Mehtab had remained chief minister of the province from 1997-1999, hence he was the first person to have the honour of becoming both the governor and chief minister.
Sardar Methab’s political career spans over more than 30 years. He became member of the then NWFP Assembly in 1985, and did so in 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1997.
He won both the National Assembly and Provincial Assembly seats from Abbottabad in 1990, 1993 and 1997. He missed the 2002 general elections as his government was ousted by military ruler Pervez Musharraf and was sent behind bars in a wheat scandal case. NAB cleared him in the case in 2003. He was elected to Senate in 2003.
He won the 2008 elections from Abbottabad by defeating his arch rival Amanullah Khan Jadoon. But, in 2013, he lost the NA seat though he secured more votes than his previous elections. However, he won the Provincial Assembly seat and was made Opposition leader in the KP Assembly.
He resigned from the KP assembly seat in April 2014 after his nomination by the Federal government as Governor of the province.