Governance becomes victim as Bugti fails to form Balochistan cabinet

QUETTA: The long-awaited formation of the Balochistan cabinet remains elusive, plunging the province into a state of administrative limbo.

Despite Sarfraz Bugti assuming the role of Chief Minister on March 2, over one and a half months have passed without the cabinet’s formation, leaving the crucial decisions hanging and civil affairs paralyzed.

While provincial cabinets have been established in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh, Balochistan has yet to follow suit.

The latest setback came when the Balochistan government spokesperson, in a post-Eid declaration, assured the public of the cabinet’s formation on the first day after the holiday.

However, as the day unfolded, hopes waned as no cabinet formation or swearing-in ceremony was announced, leaving citizens and officials alike in a state of bewilderment.

The ramifications of this prolonged delay are significant, with civil affairs grinding to a halt as crucial decisions remain pending. The absence of a functioning cabinet has left Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti shouldering the burden of making pivotal choices without the consultative mechanism that a cabinet provides.

The delay in the oath-taking ceremony of provincial ministers has been attributed to the death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of the ruling PPP and former prime minister of Pakistan.

CM Bugti’s absence, reportedly due to his brother’s medical treatment in Dubai, has been cited as a contributing factor to the delay, further complicating the situation.

While there has been no official confirmation from the chief minister or the government spokesman in Balochistan, insiders suggest that the cabinet formation process is facing significant hurdles due to constraints outlined in the 18th amendment.

This amendment limits the province to accommodate only 14 provincial ministers and 5 advisers. With the number of the PPP, PML-N lawmakers, and their allies exceeding 40, allocating positions becomes a daunting task, ripe with potential for intra-party conflicts and discontent.

Sources suggest that the disputes between the People’s Party and PML-N over ministerial portfolios have further complicated the cabinet formation process. Independent candidates aligned with these parties are also clamoring for ministerial positions, exacerbating the deadlock and prolonging the province’s state of administrative uncertainty.

As the political landscape in Balochistan remains uncertain, stakeholders await further developments regarding the formation of the provincial cabinet, hoping for resolution amidst mounting pressures and expectations.

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