Can governor rule secure Senate election?
ISLAMABAD: Speculations are rife in the federal capital over the fate of Balochistan Assembly (BA) as the leadership of the ruling party – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz – looks perturbed over the humiliating ouster of Balochistan Chief Minister Sardar Sanaullah Zehri.
Party leaders are concerned over the fact that despite enjoying a majority in the 65-member Balochistan Assembly, not only the party’s nominee had been forced to tender resignation in utter desperation but also the rebel members of the BA had refused successive requests made by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for a ten-minute meeting.
Despite spending over twelve hours in the provincial capital, the party leaders said that the prime minister had to return even having a single meeting with the party lawmakers. Moreover, the party members also refused to listen to phone calls made directly from Mian Nawaz Sharif’s residence in Jaati Umra.
“The party chief, Nawaz Sharif, held a special meeting here in Islamabad with Prime Minister Abbasi and shared his anger and anguish for the failure of the prime minister to hold those institutions and individuals together, who manoeuvred this debacle for the ruling party,” a source in the ruling party said.
The source said that the former prime minister discussed with PM Abbasi the possibility to impose governor rule in Balochistan to disallow any chances of dissolution of Balochistan Assembly before the Senate elections.
“A proposal is being discussed whether imposition of the governor rule may help salvage the situation. But one thing is clear. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is furious and no one would be allowed to play havoc with the democratic system,” the source said.
The situation is very fluid in Balochistan for the time being as more than four candidates are in the run for the chief minister’s slot.
A lawmaker in Balochistan Assembly, requesting anonymity, told Pakistan Today that the consultation process to elect the next chief minister had already been commenced and various names were being discussed. The lawmaker, however, made it clear that the next CM could either be from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) or Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q). However, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) was not eager to get the slot for a few months, the member provincial assembly added.
When asked who could be the potential candidate for the top slot, the lawmaker said that consultations were on and a few names were being discussed. The lawmaker informed that Mohammad Saleh Bhotani, Jan Mohammad Jamali and Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo were potential names for the top provincial slot.
The source said that Sarfraz Bugti could be a dark horse if an agreement could not be reached on Bhotani, Jamali or Bizenjo.
When asked if there were possibilities of dissolution of BA after the election of the new chief minister, the lawmaker said that it was premature to say anything. “For the time being, this issue is not on the agenda. But if the consultation process fails to reach a consensus candidate, then one cannot rule out the dissolution of the provincial assembly,” the source added.
It merits mention that Sardar Mohammad Saleh Bhotani was elected from Lasbela, Balochistan. Bhotani, who is from PML-N, is the son of Sardar Umeed Ali Bhotani and elder brother of the incumbent Speaker of Balochistan Assembly Mohammad Aslam Bhotani.
Saleh Bhotani was the interim chief minister of Balochistan in 2013. Being the chief minister, Bhotani is credited for effectively dealing with the acute shortage of flour in the province.
Mir Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali served as the BA speaker from June 2013 to 2015. He also served two terms as deputy chairman of the Senate. He is affiliated with the PML-N and has served several times as minister in Balochistan cabinet.
Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo is deputy speaker of BA from PML-Q. He has played a key role in moving a no-confidence motion against Sardar Sanaullah Zehri as he was one of the initial movers of the motion and played a linchpin role in convincing his other peers to support the motion.
Sarfraz Bugti is a new youth leader of Bugti tribe who was elected as an independent candidate from PB-24, Dera Bugti. Coming from a middle-class background, Bugti has been vocal against terrorist organisations like BRA, BLA, LeJ and TTP. He was one of the ministers who resigned to support the no-confidence move.