Islamabad: In a major reshuffle, a ‘matriculate’ Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) from Haripur has been given the portfolio of education minister in Chief Minister Mahmood Khan’s cabinet.

The appointment has come as a surprise to many since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been claiming education as its top priority and Prime Minister Imran Khan after coming to power in 2018 declared his government would declare education emergency in the country.

According to his nomination papers, Akbar Ayub Khan has not received formal education after passing Grade 10.

Khan’s predecessor Ziaullah Bangash has a Bachelor’s degree in arts, while Mohammad Atif Khan, who was education minister in former chief minister Pervez Khattak’s cabinet had studied till Grade 12.

Akbar Ayub Khan entered politics after his elder brother Yousaf Ayub Khan, Minister for Communication & Works in Pervaiz Khattak’s cabinet was disqualified in a fake degree case.

Earlier, he was given portfolio of communication and works. However, in Saturday’s notification issued by the provincial government, he has been named as education minister of the province.

While replying to criticism over appointment of a matriculate as education of the province, Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, KP information minister, defended his nomination by arguing that he has a “wealth of experience and the government wanted to benefit from that.”

According to Yousafzai, Akbar Ayub Khan quit his studies when he was in 12th grade and left for Canada.

He is “exceptionally qualified” despite being just a matriculate, said information minister while defending Akbar Ayub Khan’s appointment as a minister for elementary and secondary education.

Ayub ran his previous department exceptionally well and brought new reforms and initiatives which changed the communication and works department,” Yousafzai said.

Though not an engineer, he ran the engineering-based work department very well, said Yousafzai, adding “There’s no education standard for elected candidates. You can’t bar people on the basis of their academic qualifications.”

Yousfzai’s comment that Akbar Ayub Khan is quite proficient in English and can deal with foreign delegations was highlighted as well as questioned the print, electronic and social media of the country and the opposition leaders as well as social media users criticised the information minister for giving this ‘bizarre’ criteria to appoint an important ministry like education.