The reluctance shown by Senator Mushahidullah Khan in accepting the portfolio of Federal Minister for the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has forced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to delay assigning him a portfolio.
A well-placed source informed Pakistan Today that Khan, who took oath on Tuesday as a minister, was asked to act as chairperson BISP, a position had he earlier accepted. Khan joined PML-N in 1990 and is the current secretary information for the party.
Repeated attempts to contact the senator failed as he refused to respond to calls and messages sent to his cell phone.
The slot of BISP chairman is ceremonial. Previously Senator Enver Baig, another close confidant of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had also stepped down claiming that the BISP secretary was not allowing him to use his powers.
Moreover, the office lost attraction once PML-N came into power. They introduced a major cut in funding for BISP, as compared to when the PPP was in power, making the position less desirable.
The source added that the close aides of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had advised the premier not to get Khan re-elected as senator in March as Khan was due to retire in the same month after serving a six-year term as a member of the Upper House of Parliament.
The source further informed that the PM has other plans in mind.
“Since the party already elected Rida Khan as an MNA, Sharif now wants to accommodate someone else instead of Mushahidullah Khan during the upcoming elections of the Senate in March. Khan will instead be the chairman BISP, with all the perks and privileges of a federal minister,” the source elaborated.
However, Khan realised that there was something fishy going on. “He smelled the move and refused to accept the slot despite accepting the offer initially,” the source asserted.
“Now Mushahidullah Khan is likely to be offered the charge of minister for Cabinet Division,” the source added.