Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s caretaker Chief Minister, Mohammad Azam Khan, passed away on Saturday, merely a day after being admitted to a hospital. The 89-year-old leader was rushed to Peshawar’s Rehman Medical Institute (RMI) after falling ill, where he was placed in the intensive care unit (ICU). The hospital administration disclosed that Khan, who complained of diarrhea upon arrival, underwent tests that revealed a hernia. Despite preparations for a potential operation, Khan succumbed to a heart attack at 9 am.
The untimely demise of Mohammad Azam Khan, a former bureaucrat who assumed the role of interim chief minister on January 21, 2023, following the dissolution of the KP Assembly, has left a void in the political landscape of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
A native of Prang, Charsadda, Azam Khan’s funeral prayer is scheduled for 3:30 pm today, with his final resting place in his hometown. The sudden loss has not only shaken the political fraternity but also prompted reflections on his extensive and commendable public service career.
Azam Khan’s impressive resume includes serving as a minister for interior, capital administration, and development in the interim cabinet of former caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk in 2018. A Barrister-at-Law from Lincoln’s Inn, London, Khan held pivotal roles in both federal and provincial governments, demonstrating a commitment to public service that spanned decades.
Former secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Kanwar Dilshad, confirmed the automatic dissolution of the KP cabinet following the chief minister’s demise, in accordance with the law. All powers have been temporarily transferred to KP Governor Ghulam Ali until the appointment of a new chief minister.
Condolences have poured in from various political figures, reflecting the widespread respect Azam Khan commanded across party lines. President Dr Arif Alvi expressed his condolences, describing Khan as a decent person based on their interactions. Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi also shared their grief, praising Khan’s honesty and dedication.
Former Prime Minister and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif recalled Khan’s family legacy of service to the nation, noting his sincerity during the flood campaign. Other leaders, including Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar, highlighted Khan’s significant administrative contributions.
As the nation mourns the loss of a dedicated public servant, the political landscape in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faces an inevitable transition. The void left by Mohammad Azam Khan’s passing prompts reflection on his legacy and the challenges ahead for the province.