PESHAWAR: Not a single politician hailing from Peshawar could become Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s chief minister for the last four decades, The News reported Saturday.
The last time it happened was almost 40 years ago when the late Arbab Jahangir Khan Khalil, who belonged to KP, became the chief executive of the province when it was called North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
Khalil held the coveted position from April 7, 1985, to May 1988 and holds the record of being unbeaten in his 32-year-long political career spanning from 1970 to 2002.
He was elected thrice to the National Assembly and four times to the provincial assembly and remained unbeaten during his political career.
Peshawar could not get any representation in the federal cabinet in the last decade. The last time any lawmaker from Peshawar got a slot in the federal cabinet was after the 2008 elections.
A few politicians from the provincial capital have remained governor of the province since the mid-1980s but none could make any huge difference in terms of developing their city.
During the upcoming polls on February 8, very few seasoned politicians are trying their luck for the KP Assembly from 13 constituencies of Peshawar.
On the other hand, several seasoned political leaders from other districts are contesting the upcoming election for the provincial assembly while eying the top slot.
In the last four decades, the Mardan division has produced most of the chief ministers.
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao from Charsadda is the only politician in the last four decades who twice remained chief minister of the province which was then called NWFP.
Sherpao was a senior member of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) during those days who later parted ways with it and launched his splinter group. He remained chief minister of the province from December 1988 till August 1990 and again from April 1994 till November 1996. He also served as interior minister.
From August 1990 till July 1993, Mir Afzal Khan from Mardan remained the chief minister of the province.
Pir Sabir Shah, who was elected from Haripur, was the chief executive of the province from August 1993 till February 1994.
After the 1997 elections, Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan, who was elected from Abbottabad, was made the chief minister. He remained in the office from February 1997 till October 12, 1999.
There was governor’s rule in the province from 1999 till 2002. In 2002 the six-party religious alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal swept the polls in the province and Akram Khan Durrani belonging to Bannu became the chief minister. He remained in the office from November 30, 2002, till October 11, 2007.
When the Awami National Party (ANP) came to power after the 2008 polls, Ameer Haider Hoti from Mardan was elected as the provincial chief executive and remained in office from March 31, 2008, till March 20, 2013.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) swept the polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2013. Pervez Khattak from Nowshera was elected as chief minister and remained in office from May 31, 2013, till June 6, 2018.
The PTI again came to power in the 2018 general election, something unusual in KP as no party could win two consecutive polls in the province in the last many decades. However, instead of Khattak, PTI named Mahmood Khan from Swat, chief minister this time. He led the government in KP from August 17, 2018, till January 2023 when he dissolved the KP Assembly ahead of its due tenure.
A caretaker government under Chief Minister Azam Khan was installed in the province in January last year after the assemblies were dissolved. He remained CM till his death on November 11, 2023. He was replaced by the incumbent caretaker Chief Minister Arshad Hussain Shah on November 12, 2023.
Apart from the elected chief ministers in the last four decades, General Fazle Haq, Mufti Muhammad Abbas, Raja Sikander Zaman, Engineer Shamsul Mulk, Justice Tariq Pervez and Justice Dost Muhammad have served as caretaker chief executives of the province for brief tenures to conduct polls and hand over the government to the political party winning the highest number of seats.