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As Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidates have secured a landmark victory in the Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, winning more than 80 seats out of 110 general seats, the party is in a strong position to form the provincial government. However, due to several groups within the party, it will not be easy for the party to reach a consensus for the chief minister’s slot.
Currently, there are more than four strong candidates for the CM slot, including Ali Amin Gandapur, ex-speaker Mushtaq Ghani, former minister Atif Khan, and Shakeel Khan. Soon after the party emerged as a winner in the province, the name of Gandapur came to the fore for the slot. However, the Atif Khan Group holds more power in the party, and there are concerns that this group will not accept Gandapur as CM.
In the past, the Atif Khan group was part of the Pervez Khattak group in the party. However, the group remains influential even after Khattak and some of his close colleagues left the party to form a new party named Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Parliamentarian.
The party has yet to convene official meetings to finalize a candidate for the KP CM post. After the meeting, the party’s internal dynamics will become apparent, with each group vying for the CM slot. There is also a concern that the party could be divided on the CM issue, and a major group might part ways from the PTI and join PTIP, as Pervez Khattak had claimed before the elections that most PTI-backed independent candidates would join his party after winning the elections.
In 2018, the Atif Khan group failed to secure the CM slot, and this time they will try their best to achieve it. However, the final decision for the chief minister will be made by Imran Khan, who has been in jail since August of last year. It remains unclear who will ultimately earn Imran Khan’s nod for the coveted role.