Balochistan’s political crisis

January 8, 2018

The political crisis in Balochistan seems to be deepening with every passing day. The key objective of the political turmoil being ‘created’ is to oust the Chief Minister by using a no confidence motion against him. For now the move seems to be going towards successful completion with number of resignations increasing with time. There have been suggestions and with good measure that the crisis aims to hamper the upcoming Senate elections.

The move began on Tuesday when 14 members of the Balochistan Assembly including members of opposition and coalition parties moved a no-trust motion against Nawab Sanaullah Zehri. In the aftermath of the move, Sarfraz Bugti was dismissed from his post provincial minister for Home and Tribal Affairs, Prisons and PDMA (Sarfraz though claimed that he resigned and wasn’t dismissed). Another minister to tender his resignation was Mir Chakar Dhomki, Minister of Fisheries.

As the Chief Minister was still reeling from these blows, more severe blows came in the form of resignation of Rahat Jamali, the minister for manpower and labour.  The chief minister’s adviser on excise and taxation, Abdul Majid Abro, also sent his resignation to the governor.

It is expected that a session of the assembly will be summoned on requisition by the 14 dissenting members in the coming week to decide the fate of the no-confidence motion. However, Zehri still seems to be on a strong footing unless the dissenting members have a surprise up their sleeves. The Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and National Party (NP) have announced their support for Zehri against the no-confidence motion. The PkMAP and NP have 34 members, whereas the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) members are in addition to them.  Zehri only needs a simple majority of 33 votes to continue as the Leader of the House in the provincial assembly.

The other day Federal Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal while commenting on the political situation in Balochistan claimed that the resignations from Balochistan were rendered under duress. Referring to his recent visit to the province, he said that lawmakers in Balochistan had informed him that they were being ‘pressurised’. Senate Deputy Chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri has expressed similar fears saying that the Senate elections may be postponed if a political disruption happens in Balochistan following the recent instability.

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