Ill-fated Balochistan and Former CM

January 26, 2018

(Dr. Irfan Ashraf )

A calm that Balochistan has engulfed into now, cannot mitigate the intensity of the jerks that it witnessed few days back. The province with an unparalleled significance due to its proximity to Strait of Hormuz, where roughly 40 per cent of world petroleum passes, facing the worst economic and welfare conditions. It makes it evident that not only the foreign forces like India and Afghanistan are active in the province but also points out at the inability of the government who failed to satisfy most of the stakeholders.

Former CM Zehri who came into power as a consequence of power-sharing agreement, reached in Murree in the summer of 2013 between Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and the National Party (NP) was bound by the accord to assure his equal contribution in the development projects and ridding any biasness during the formation of his cabinet. Dr Malik, who according to Murre agreement, completed his tenure after 2.5 years was expected by the parties to remain in the office but PMLN stayed adamant to follow the agreement according to which Zehri became the CM for the next 2.5 years of the PMLN regime.

After he came to power, the closed alliance of PMLN Achakzai became his right hand and both started propagating their ideology which is anti-establishment and more specifically a mouth piece of India. Due to this closed alliance, most of the funds were directed to Achakzai’s constituencies inclusive the grant for 320 dams in one of his constituencies whereas entire Balochistan received approval for merely 10 dams.

FC Balochistan played an unmatched role and did more than what was expected to save the Province from the gory attacks of the anti-state actors.  Though the military sacrificed a lot and law enforcement agencies presented number of sacrifices for the prevalence of peace in the country. It worked hard have Safe City Quetta type projects in place but due to escalating corruption as a consequence of allocation of funds in fraudulent ways, the political instability aggravated.  Therefore, the province lacked behind in the development projects and in promoting the better infrastructure of schools, colleges, universities and hospitals.

Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s (PkMAP) slogan was to get every child into school. They not only failed to fulfil this commitment but also committed activities that lacked the province behind in all the fields.  PkMAP former MPA Balochistan Abdul Rahim Khan Ziaratwal showed lapse of one billion dollars, and no development project was set up under their leadership. Constituencies under PkMAP party still witness the worst school buildings, excess of incompetent hiring of school teachers, ghost schools and above all, empty buildings of educational institutes. Those funds were never brought on the surface and the province remained in the same darkness that it was facing until now. The unfortunate province faced this fate just because PMLN had to favour Achakzai who has been with Sharifs in all their rights and wrongs.

CM Balochistan kept 70% of the funds under his supervision. He denied granting these funds to MPAs. He started favouring his people in all possible ways. Political parties, in a democratic way went for a no confidence vote against his government which was labelled by the PMLN leadership especially PM Abbasi as a conspiracy by law enforcing institutes FC Balochistan.

If I summarize the bad governance that I mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, it becomes apparent how meaningless these allegations appear to be. Constituencies under PkMAP depict the worst scenarios. No drinking water is available in Gawadar. Moreover, Dera Bugti which was once sensitive and got cleared with the efforts of the security forces, was denied the funds. Sarfaraz Bugti did not receive enough resources to facilitate his land. Those who laid arms did so on the trust of security forces and political parties failed to provide for their rehabilitation.

Development funds that stood as the biggest challenge and one of the biggest expectations from CM, was the one that set the Province into despair.  With unfortunately, the lowest human development index, CM Zehri was not able to bring much difference in the abject poverty that the population faces. With all this, the vain PMLN majority in the province remained unsuccessful in avoiding the tug of war within their own government.

Following the footsteps of the past governments and as was expected from his feudal background, he was not able to please his coalition partners. As I see the Baloch politics under former CM, he was taking all its decisions as if he had never made any accord with its coalition partners. One of the grave examples is the hiring and transfers of officials and police officers without the consent of the MPAs.

Due to all these issues, and lapses in all the developmental projects, a no confidence vote submitted by Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Syed Agha Raza, was signed by a total of 14 parliamentarians. Ultimately, they were successful to rid the country of this corrupt system

The new CM got elected as per the democratic ways. He has now started working for the people in a democratic manner by incorporating their inputs. He has incorporated the local people into the system. For instance, he gave a ministry to Mir Mohammad Asim Kurd Gello who belongs to Sibbi division District Bolan. Same is the case with the entire cabinet. He went in to the streets, heard the people, assured implementation of prison reforms for the benefit of the detainees. With all these and other such efforts, people of Balochistan are now hopeful for a better and corruption free country.