After a spell of infighting within the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, the coalition partners have agreed on Pervez Khattak as the candidate for the post of chief minister. The candidature of Khattak, the secretary general of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, was opposed by a faction led by Asad Qaiser, another leader of the party.
The leaders of the three parties claimed they had the support of 64 legislators in the 124-member assembly and would face no problem in forming government. The parties also decided on a formula for allocating ministries. Khattak told reporters in Peshawar yesterday that details about the distribution of portfolios were yet to be decided.
Following an outcry from the public, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf dropped plans to allocate the key education and finance portfolios to the Jamaat-e-Islami. Khattak said the new government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would be an example for the other provinces of Pakistan.
"We have formed the alliance only to solve the problems of the people and to bring about an improvement in health and education. We want the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to be a role model for other provinces," he said.
Northwestern Pakistan is on the frontline of a Taliban insurgency and suffers near daily bombings and terrorist attacks. A key route that will be used for moving military gear during the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan runs through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the adjoining tribal belt.
Imran Khan has called for an end to military operations in the northwest and peace talks with militant groups, including the Taliban. Thursday's news conference to announce the formation of the coalition was attended by the chief of the Qaumi Watan Party, former Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Sirajul Haq.
However, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Asad Qaiser stayed away, reflecting the division within the party. Khattak said the Pashtuns were the worst victims of terrorism and resolving this problem would be on top of the agenda of his government.
Sherpao said the three parties had agreed to hold polls for local government bodies after forming the provincial government. Despite Khan's claims that his party would sweep the May 11 general election, it performed well only in the northwest and in small pockets of Punjab.