Balochistan, Sindh assemblies likely to be dissolved today

ISLAMABAD: With the dissolution of the National Assembly on Wednesday night, attention turned towards the timing of the dissolution of the two remaining provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan.

Like the National Assembly, both these assemblies held their inaugural sessions on August 13, 2018, following their election in the July 25 vote. Therefore, their five-year term is set to expire on Saturday, August 12.

As per the Constitution, if the assembly completes its term, the next general election would be held in 60 days. But if the term is not complete, even by a single day, the elections would be held in 90 days.

The National Assembly was dissolved on August 9, three days shy of its term completion with a view to getting another month’s time for the election campaign. Same consideration is expected for the Sindh and Balochistan.

According to the political experts, these two remaining assemblies were likely to be dissolved on Friday (today), one day before completing terms, to pave the way for the general election in November, along with the National Assembly polls.

The two other assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – where the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf (PTI) was in government – were dissolved in January this year, with a view to forcing the general elections across the country.

However, it did not happen, while the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) did not hold the election in the provinces in 90 days. Now the elections for these two provincial assemblies will also be held along with the other assemblies.

Meanwhile, the Sindh Assembly continued its session on Thursday, where the members delivered their farewell speeches. Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani said that Friday (today) would be the last day of the assembly.

A source said that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah would send the advice for the dissolution of the assembly to Governor Kamran Tessori. “The governor on the advice of the chief minister will sign the summary by midnight,” the source said.

During the session, the speaker told both the treasury and the opposition members to share their five-year experience. “After the last sitting, we will have a photo session before lunch with you,” he announced.

The treasury members applauded the Sindh government and the performance of the assembly, while some opposition members cried foul in not giving them the chance to pass their private members’ bills and share in development budget.

After the dissolution of the assembly, the provincial cabinet would also cease to exist. The government and opposition would then hold consultation for the appointment of the caretaker chief minister.

So far, both sides are tight-lipped about their choices for the post. From the government side, there were a few names taking rounds but no-one would confirm or deny them. Similarly, nothing is being shared by the opposition.

A similar situation prevails in Quetta, where Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Quddus Bizenjo was also expected to send the advice for the dissolution of the assembly on Friday (today).

So far, there is no consensus on the nomination of the caretaker chief minister. The opposition, led by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), has formed a three-member committee to finalise its names.

The committee comprises opposition leaderMalik Sikandar Advocate, the party’s Balochistan Amir Maulana Abdul Wasey and provincial Assembly member Mir Younas Aziz Zehri.

“So far none from the government has formally contacted our parliamentary committee”, a senior leader of the JUI said. However, official sources said that the chief minister was expected to meet the opposition leader “very soon”.

The ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) has yet to form any committee for the negotiations with the opposition. The sources revealed that the BAP was expected to nominate Mir Hamal Kalmati as its candidate.

Besides Kalmati, the names of Mir Naseer Bizenjo, and Senator Kuhda Babar are also being discussed for the post of the caretaker chief minister. Other names taking rounds include Mir Behroz Regi and Dr Faiz Kakar.

To be precise, the final announcement in this regard is expected within next couple of days as the JUI Balochistan Amir Maulana Abdul Wasey has arrived in the provincial capital to finalise the name.

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