I've been burning the wires for several hours today, talking to people who are much better informed than I am, seeking insights on Mehmood Khan's surprise and unexpected nomination as CM PK, especially given some of the social media chatter against it.
Here's what I've discovered. Mehmood comes from a very humble background from Matta in Swat, where the TTP had its strongest hold. Interestingly Matta is perhaps one the most feudal areas where the entire land was owned by just three families, most well known being Afzal Lala or Afzal Khan of ANP. In the rout, Afzal's nephew and son both lost miserably in the recent elections
Mehmood and his family were the few rare ones that stood their ground and fought the TTP when most people had left Matta.
Mehmood is also credited with the clean sweep that PTI achieved in the district. 8 MPA's and 3 MNA's and has the reputation of being a very honest and capable person, loved by his people.
Clearly, the nomination was a surprise given the tussle and tug of war between Pervez Khattak on the one hand and the Atif Khan / Shahram Tarakai combine on the other and an expectation that the nominee would be either Atif or PK.
However, as I've always maintained, Imran always takes a decision which he thinks and believes is in the best interest of Pakistan and in this case, the province and its people and lastly the party. Mehmood checked all three boxes.
There's absolutely no authenticity in the conjecture that Mehmood is Pervez Khattak's proxy or that a past financial transaction when he was Minister of Sports tars his integrity.
It would be suicidal for Imran to nominate a questionable character or play party politics.
Given all that we know about Imran, he could make a wrong decision, and he has made some faulty ones.
But he has never done so, knowingly or deliberately compromising the interests of Pakistan, but more perhaps due to lack of due diligence, ill advice and poor process.
In this case, my view is that Imran took a very well thought through, comprehensively considered and correct decision, given the time he took to announce his choice. Of course, only time will tell whether it was the correct choice.
Of course, the anti-Imran brigade have unsheathed their daggers and will continue to question it, alluding darker motives and compromises other than the fact that he is a decent and honest fellow and the best choice, under the circumstances!
Don't underestimate Imran! Most everything that he's done these last 22 years has brought him to this stage. Do you think he'll throw it away on such a decision?