Home Latest News KP C.M. Gandapur Vows to Revive Health Card by Start of Ramzan

KP C.M. Gandapur Vows to Revive Health Card by Start of Ramzan

In inaugural speech, PTI leader demands CEC’s resignation for alleged rigging in Feb. 8 polls

by Staff Report

Screengrab of KP C.M. Ali Amin Gandapur’s inaugural speech

In his inaugural speech as Chief Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Ali Amin Gandapur on Friday vowed to revive the health card by the start of Ramzan and pledged to make eradicating terrorism a priority of his government.

Gandapur won the chief minister’s election with 90 votes in the provincial assembly against 16 of his opponent, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)’s Ibadullah Khan. In his maiden speech, he promised to live up to the expectations of PTI founder Imran Khan, who nominated him for the role. Lamenting that the PTI leader was a victim of fascism, he demanded his immediate release from prison, where he is incarcerated after three separate convictions.

“Our leader fought for the nation for 27 years and he rightly used to say that we are not free but slaves and we require real freedom,” he said, demanding a free and fair trial for Imran Khan. Criticizing the ongoing detentions of various PTI leaders, he maintained the party doesn’t desire revenge and merely wants to bring about a system that cannot be abused by those in power.

“The election symbol was taken from us and we were not even allowed to raise our voice for the people of Kashmir or Palestine,” he claimed, warning that the PTI knew how to “snatch” its rights but wished to work within the parliamentary system. “It is the responsibility of the state to give us our right,” he said, as he called for authorities concerned to ensure the PTI was given its due mandate. He further demanded the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja for failing in his duty to ensure free and fair elections.

“Today the whole nation got to know who the selected one is. These selected come to rule again and again to steal people’s money,” he said, in a seeming reference to leaders of the PTI’s rival parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). He also reiterated calls for Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa to form a judicial commission to probe the May 9 riots.

During his speech, Gandapur vowed that he would not commit any corruption and urged all MPAs to make the same pledge.

On KP’s economic situation, he said he would focus on increasing the revenue of the province, adding he was against taking any loans. “We need to give relief to the poor, not burden them,” he said. “We will give property, right to inheritance, free legal assistance to women,” he claimed, adding the provincial government would invest in trade and business development to create employment. He also vowed to develop the province’s natural resources for the benefit of the people.

Acknowledging the need for peace in the province, he said one of his biggest challenges as the province’s chief minister was to eradicate terrorism.

While Gandapur contested the chief minister’s slot as a PTI leader, he had the support of the Sunni Ittehad Council, which PTI-backed winning independents joined last month in a bid to secure reserved seats for women and minorities. His opponent Ibadullah, meanwhile, had the support of the PMLN, PPP, and PTI-Parliamentarians.

In the PTI’s last tenure, Gandapur served as the federal minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan. He was also a member of the KP Assembly from 2013-2018 and served as provincial minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for revenue.

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