Fissiparous politics in Balochistan

WITH general election a few months’ away, dissidents of various national mainstream parties launched a new ‘Balochistan Awami Party’ (BAP) in Quetta on Thursday. Pakistan Muslim League-Q’s Saeed Ahmed Hashmi said office bearers of the new entity would be elected and the party registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
There is no doubt that alliances and mergers would take place besides switching of loyalty by turncoats before election as we have been witnessing in the past but emergence of this new party in Balochistan has serious connotations and implications for national politics. While no one would object to the sovereign decision of individuals to form a new political party as this is their constitutional right but regrettably BAP has been founded on the ruins of the parties that are considered to be federal. The PPP already stood eliminated in the province because of various reasons and now two other national parties i.e. Pakistan Muslim League (N) and PML (Q) have been routed through political engineering. Pakistan is a federation and there was every reason to encourage, promote and strengthen parties with national and federal character but here it is our efforts to turn all political parties into regional ones. This does not augur well for the federation and will have serious consequences for the country in the years to come. Balochistan is assuming greater significance because of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and other geo-strategic factors and therefore, parties with national characteristics should have been encouraged in the province. The name of the new party suggests that it would remain regional in character irrespective of who joins it and whatever its fate in the next election. It might be possible that the new party gets reasonable seats of Provincial and National Assemblies from the province if those elected join it as are the indications, strengthening its bargaining position but elimination of national parties from the province is a tragedy. The new political party can prove its worth if it comes out with a futuristic manifesto and programme but the real issues is implementation and one cannot expect too much from those who keep on switching sides.

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