One of the biggest challenges of any party coming to power is its indecisiveness in choosing the right people for the lucrative posts in the country. This is precisely why the position of the Chief Minister (CM) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is becoming controversial by the day. A position which was once granted to former CM KP Pervez Khattak is now open for debate because Pervez Khattak is no longer the most favourable candidate, and according to sources party chief Imran Khan is not keen on making him the CM again.

Another candidate closely in competition with Pervez Khattak is Atif Khan who was one of the founding members of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI). He was the party president for the region of Peshawar and was also elected as the central additional secretary general of the party. He contested the election back in 2013 as well and served as the Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education in Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s cabinet for five years.

The most favourable candidate at this point is Mahmood Khan who has been nominated by Imran Khan as a candidate for KP CM. He belongs to Swat and served as the Nazim of the area before contesting elections in 2013. Later on, he served as the provincial minister of sports, culture, and tourism. Although he had to relinquish the position due to charges of misuse of funds, he was later absolved of these charges by the Peshawar High Court (PHC) and brought back as the minister for home and tribal affairs.

There is clear divide in the ranks of the party especially after the differences between former KP CM with the party chief came to the forefront. Pervez Khattak wanted to retain the seat, however, Atif Khan gave him a very tough competition aside from the indulgence in a verbal duel.

Mahmood allegedly has a past free of corruption – although his investigation and resignation does not make him entirely blemish less individual – and has worked well in the ministries handed over to him. At the end of the day however, the question ultimately might be of control. Instead of established national politicians who have been in the public eye, relatively newcomers are being pitched by different factions of the party.

The test will be whether or not the new CM will simply toe the party line or demonstrate individual initiative as well.