The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s decision to sack three of its ministers implies that the provincial government is open to making changes, but perhaps not always for the right reasons. The three members of the KP cabinet – the ministers for health, revenue and state and sports, culture and tourism – have been reportedly dismissed for their part in trying to subvert the Chief Minister.

Ensuring that the provincial government works cohesively and is unified is fundamentally important, but given that many within the party deny that the ministers were dismissed for their part in a coup, one can only wonder what the real reason for the dismissal was.

Regardless of whether removing the Chief Minister was the ultimate agenda, we can assume that the sackings were based on disagreements within the provincial set-up. The ministers in question had criticised governance in the province and desired improvement; they hail from PTI’s old guard and the fact that they were giving the axe over something like this is surprising.

Muhammad Atif Khan, Shahram Khan Tarakai and Shakeel Ahmed were influential members of the ruling party; Muhammad Atif Khan was also reportedly in line to become Chief Minister in 2018. This in itself might be one of the major causes for disagreement. Much like the situation in Punjab, there are individuals within PTI that believe that the removal of the Chief Minister in KP might result in increased opportunities for others to step into loftier positions.

There have been question marks in recent time over the KP government’s performance – the BRT and Malam Jabba scandals in particular need through investigation and subsequent dismissals. Where actual issues of gross incompetence, negligence and potential corruption lie ignored, is it really the best time to dismiss party stalwarts over disagreements for all the wrong reasons?

Letting heads roll only for the sake of it is not something that the top minds in government should encourage. PTI must look to approach each appointment and dismissal in the cabinet in a more transparent manner. If the minister for tourism is being sacked, who is left to answer for misappropriation of funds in Malam Jabba? Is the government even interested in pursuing charges of corruption against its own members? It is hoped that now that the provincial government has decided to clear its house, those involved in projects that have brought nothing but bad publicity to PTI’s government in KP are also brought to task.