PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-backed independent lawmaker Ali Amin Gandapur was elected as the 22nd Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister during voting in the provincial legislature on Friday.

Gandapur won the election by securing a total of 90 votes while his rival PML-N’s Ibadullah Khan got 16 votes. PTI founder Imran Khan had nominated Gandapur as his party’s candidate for KP’s leader of the house. Considering the numbers it is highly likely that he would clinch the slot.

Gandapur, addressing after electing as chief minister, demanded release of the PTI founder. The PTI leader demanded an open trial of the former prime minister.

At the outset of his address, Gandapur sought guidance from Allah. He thanked the PTI founder for reposing confidence in him. “I promise to live up to the trust of the PTI founder.”

He said his party knew how to get its rights. He said his party wanted to change the system which would ensure justice for everyone.

The PTI leader said his party’s mandate was stolen. “The chief election commissioner (CEC) failed to conduct free and free elections. He should tender his resignation over his failure to hold free, fair and transparent elections. The elections were rigged,” he said.

The KP chief minister-elect urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to hold a judicial inquiry into May 9 violence.

He set a one-week deadline to quash first information reports (FIRs) against PTI workers. “Be ready for punishment if the FIRs aren’t removed,” he added.

Gandapur decried the “injustice and cruelty” imposed on party leadership, including Imran Khan and party workers. “We need to change this precedent; today it happens with us, tomorrow it will happen with someone else. The nation will hold us accountable, and we will need to give answers,” he added.

Gandapur commended Imran Khan for giving Pakistan a better standing in the world and said the PTI founder chairman was correct in saying that Pakistan was not free but shackled in slavery.

He said he had been a worker of the PTI for 17 years. “But, today I became the chief minister as an independent. It is painful for me,” said the newly-elected chief minister.

The treatment meted out to the PTI has been unprecedented. There could be no precedent of such a treatment to a political party anywhere in the world, he added.

“Our leader has been jailed. There should be an open, fair and transparent trial of the PTI founder and he should be released immediately. Our women workers are still in prison. The injustice done to them should be addressed. We don’t want exact revenge.”

“Our leader spoke of Pakistan. He was right when he said we are not free but slaves. True freedom was, is and will always be our need.”

On Thursday, the KP Assembly had elected Sunni Ittehad Council candidates Babar Saleem Swati as the speaker and Suraiya Bibi as the deputy speaker.

The PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) candidate Babar Saleem Swati won the election against Ehsanullah Khan, the joint candidate of the PPP, ANP, PML-N, and the PTI-Parliamentarians.

In the 106-strong house, Swati bagged 89 votes whereas Khan got 17 votes. Mushtaq Ghani administered the oath to newly-elected speaker Swati, who announced voting for the deputy speaker slot.

Suraiya Bibi, who won the election from Chitral on a general seat, defeated PTI-P’s Arbab Muhammad Waseem by securing 87 votes against her rival’s 19 votes. The session was boycotted by the JUI-F.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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