ISLAMABAD - The search for new Governor Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa is in full swing while simultaneously the aspirants for the priced slot are also using their final pull to win over the blessings of people in top echelons of power.

Background interviews with some of the ruling party members and the information gathered from sources aware of the developments taking place on this front suggest that Secretary Defence Lt. Gen.(retd) Mohammad Alam Khan Kkattak has emerged as the most strong candidate for the slot, with Lt. Gen.(retd) Salauddin Tirmizi, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Pir Sabir Shah and a few others also vying to get the support and blessings of the Prime Minister.

The sources said that actually in the pick for the slot of Governor the main say would be of the military elite because of the situation on ground, which requires extensive interaction between the Governor with military hierarchy in the province, especially in the post-operation rehabilitation phase of the military operation Zerb-i-Azb and handling of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The sources said that among so many reasons of Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan relinquishing the position of Governor KPK his slackness in the management of IDPs was one of the reasons while the people close to him (Sardar Mehtab) said that the reasons of attending to the electorate in his constituency and the party politics in Hazara were much more valid for his stepping down from the position.

The sources in the party informed that Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan was facing a serious threat of being marginalized in the party politics in Hazara from a group having the backing and patronage of a Parliamentarian from the area related to Prime Minister.

These sources said that the growing comfort and amity between the Governor KPK with Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak was also not taken well by the party’s top leadership and played some role in the current development.

On the other hand, a federal cabinet member insisted that Lt. Gen.(retd) Saluddin Tirmizi stands strong chance to become Governor KPK as the Prime Minister while making appointment of a new KPK Governor would give more weightage to political reasons than the pressure or advice from certain ‘quarters.’

But some of the party leaders said that Lt. Gen.(retd) Saluddin Tirmizi is Senator and in case he is made Governor KPK he has to relinquish the Senate seat which in the given circumstances would automatically go to PTI holing majority in KPK Assembly, the electoral college for the Senate elections from the province.

A source in the party said that the Prime Minister would bring a political person to the position of Governor KPK to provide a platform to the party’s provincial chapter to grow and said that anyone from Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Pir Sabir Shah or Engineer Amir Muquam could be picked for the slot. But some party leaders said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would appoint the new governor on the recommendation of Armed Forces, which is in the thick of the military operation, and their input in the matter could not be ignored.