Balochistan Assembly conundrum | By M Hussain Nunarmal


Balochistan Assembly conundrum

DESPITE Assad Omar and Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani’s reconciliatory efforts to settle down differences between the BAP’s cabinet members, the political temperature in Balochistan is still its peak.

About sixteen opposition members of the house have already submitted a no-confidence motion against CM Jam Kamal Alyani on September 13, but in recent day, the opposition has got quite strength as a number of MPAs of the treasury benches have joined the opposition to topple Jam Kamal-led government.

The present Assembly is indeed an unfortunate one which has witnessed much troubles since its formation after general election in 2018, especially a skirmish occurred between police and opposition members at the Assembly’s gates on 18 June when the angry MPs from opposition locked the main entrance of the house to forcefully prevent members of the ruling set-up to attend the budget session, indeed 08 June was the Black Day.

The incident not only led to the injury of some MPAs but a session court had to order the police to file an FIR against the CM responsible for June 18 incident.

Newborn Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) emerged as the largest parliamentary party in the 2018 polls by bagging about 15 general seats out of 51.

BAP then formed a coalition government led by Jam Kamal as Chief Minister by including the MPAs of PTI, ANP and Hazara Democratic Party’s (HDP) including three independent MPAs from Zhob, Dukki and Chaghi.

Unfortunately, the coalition government not only started facing criticism of the opposition benches but a number of key members of the same party’s cabinet turned against the CM.

Abdul Qadoos Bizanjo, who leads the house as speaker raised questions over the CM in the first year and even he had a plan to remove Mr Jam Kamal from the office through a no-confidence motion inside the house.

Instead of removing the grievances of the speaker, Jam Kamal defied another cabinet member Naseebullah Marri by taking back the portfolio of Health Ministry from him last year.

Interestingly, the dust has not been settled of the previous disgruntlements when a war of authority broke out between the Chief Minister and Saleh Botani, a senior politician and minister for Local Government which eventually led to another rift in the cabinet when the portfolio of Local Government was withdrawn from Mr Botani.

Sources cite that there have been a tussle between Mr Botani and Chief Minister over development funds and some administrative affairs in Lasbela district, from both where legislators belong. Mr Botani accused the CM for interfering in his constituency related matter for a long period.

Similarly, Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind, Parliamentary Leader of the PTI in Balochistan Assembly and holder of a key portfolio of the education department also parted ways from the cabinet by leaving his portfolio on 23 June which he accepted back on the intervention of some legislators.

An angry Rind, who has mostly been criticizing the Chief Minister for bypassing him before taking key decisions, was not assuaged by Assad Omar nor Sadiq Sanjranon their Quetta’s trips.

The no-confidence motion tabled on 13 September by sixteen opposition legislators has vehemently criticized the government to have failed in delivering the people and members of the House.

For instance, the motion points out that the province has been suffering from unemployment, lawlessness and institutional disorder from day one.

It continues that CM has violated the constitution during the budgets drafting as well as his behaviour has been quite bitter towards MPAs.Liaqat Shahwani, the spokesperson of the provincial government has claimed that the Jam Kamal’s government is enjoying the support of all legislators and efforts were being made to appease disgruntled MPAs as soon as possible.

On the other hand, Assad Baloch, the Social Welfare Minister has clarified it in a press conference that a delegation sent by the CM has met disgruntled MPAs and sought an extension for the deadline given to the CM by 06 October, however, our stance is clear and will never withdraw from it unless he resigns from the office. Mr Assad claimed that they have the support of at least 38 to 40 MPAs in the house”.

Although, the deadline given to CM couldn’t achieve its desired outcome as he is still enjoying the office.

But it illustrates that the issue has become oversensitive because a large number of legislators mostly of them from the ruling party have tendered their resignations to Governor on 06 October.

So, the upcoming days are important for Balochistan politics as entanglement has reached its peak.

—The writer is a lecturer at degree college Zhob Balochistan and columnist.