Balochistan emergency: Governor’s rule imposed

Published: January 14, 2013

In the wake of the premier’s announcement, members of the Hazara community agreed to end their sit-in and bury their dead. PHOTO: REUTERS

QUETTA / ISLAMABAD: 

Caving in to mounting calls for the imposition of governor’s rule in Balochistan, the federal government declared a state of emergency in the province late Sunday night.

“After hours-long consultations with coalition partners and provincial government officials, we have decided to invoke Article 234 of the Constitution,” the prime minister told leaders of the Hazara community at the Punjabi Immambargh. “From Monday morning, governor’s rule will be imposed in the province,” he said.

He also said that the provincial government led by Nawab Aslam Raisani would be removed and Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi would be the chief executive of the province.

Hundreds of Hazara community members have been holding vigils at the site of Thursday’s twin bombings beside the shrouded bodies for three days in row, demanding that the army take control of Quetta.

Premier Ashraf also directed the provincial police chief and head of the paramilitary Frontier Corps to restore law and order in the province and take action against groups involved in targeted killings and sectarian violence.

He called Thursday’s bombings an “inhuman act” and said that the top leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party, along with the entire nation, shared the grief of the Hazara community.

In the wake of the premier’s announcement, members of the Hazara community agreed to end their sit-in and bury their dead. Ashraf was accompanied by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi.

The powers of the provincial government will now be transferred to the National Assembly in the absence of a provincial legislature for necessary legislation. The governor with a small cabinet will govern the province under the emergency rule till fresh elections are held.

Responding to a question, the premier said the FC has been given power of police to investigate. “FC officers are from the army and army officers would command it. If you have any doubts, you can contact the governor, he added.

Earlier, briefing the PM, Hazara community leader Qayyum Changezai said that Hazaras have been executed for the last two decades and now these killings should stop.

He said Raisani and his cabinet were  responsible for the killings of Hazara community and several attacks on Shia community were carried out in Mastung district which was hometown of Raisani. Earlier the prime minister had a marathon session with top government officials at the Governor House in Quetta. He also called up leaders of coalition parties – including PMLQ, MMA and ANP – to build a consensus on available options.

The head of the PML-Q, which has 19 legislators in the provincial legislature, agreed that Chief Minister Raisani should step down and the army called out in the province. “Democratic or undemocratic, the army should take control of Balochistan,” he added.

President of the ANP, which has four seats in the provincial assembly, also agreed with the imposition of governor’s rule. Asfandyar Wali told Premier Ashraf that governor’s rule is the only option to be pursued as the provincial government has failed to stem the tide of violence and stop the unabated killings of Hazara community people.

However, two key coalition partners – the Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led Muttahida Majles-e-Amal (MMA) and Balochistan National Party-Awami (BNP-A) – opposed to the option calling it “unconstitutional”. Both parties have respectively nine and seven seats in the provincial assembly.

“Such unconstitutional steps will set a precedent in other provinces and even at the centre, which should be avoided,” Maulana Fazlur Rehman told a news channel on Sunday. Instead he advised the government to consider constitutional options, including change of the government.

Balochistan Assembly’s acting speaker, Mattiullah Agha, who belongs to the MMA, told The Express Tribune that the coalition partners advised the prime minister against the imposition of governor’s rule in the province. “Major parties in the coalition, MMA and BNP-A, instead suggested an in-house change in the government,” he added.

He claimed that PPP’s provincial leadership, led by its deputy parliamentary leader Ali Muhammad Jattak, also backed the suggestion.

The parliamentary party leaders of coalition parties wanted to oppose the possible imposition of governor’s rule at a news conference. However, they were stopped from holding the press conference by the federal government, official sources said. The federal government told them that their opposition to governor’s rule would be counter-productive.

MQM supports governor’s rule

Premier Ashraf also telephoned Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain to seek his input. Altaf told the prime minister that since the  Balochistan government has failed to control the law and order situation, governor’s rule should be declared in the province.

A day earlier, the MQM chief endorsed the demand of the Hazara community that the army should take control of Quetta.

Pressure from within

Earlier Sunday, Nadeem Afzal Chan, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, joined the chorus demanding imposition of governor’s rule. he should be removed.  I have written a letter to the president [for this purpose],” Chan told The Express Tribune. “The situation is very serious. Go

“The chief minister should resign. If he doesn’t, vernor’s rule should be imposed,” he added.

Separately, four key aides of Premier Ashraf – Federal Minister Sheikh Viquas Akram, Adviser to Prime Minister Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, and Special Assistants to Prime Minister Ahmad Yar Hiraj and Chaudhry Fawad Hussain – also wrote a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari to express concern over the Balochistan situation.

Thursday’s bombings have proved that the government has failed its constitutional duty of protecting the life and property of its citizens. “[Therefore], we request your Excellency to issue direction to the chief minister Balochistan to immediately submit his resignation and inspector general of police and inspector general of Frontier Corps be relieved from their duties forthwith,” read the letter, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune.

President approves summary

President Asif Ali zardari has signed the summary to impose Governor’s rule in Balochistan, after being advised by the prime minister.

PM had sent the summary, asking the president to invoke Article 234 of the Constitution.

Under the law, Governor’s rule will stay in place for 60 days.

What is Article 234?

Article 234 of the Constitution is the power to issue a proclamation in case of failure of the constitutional machinery of a province.

The Article states that if the president, on receipt of a report from the governor of a particular province, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the provincial government cannot carry out its work in accordance with the law and provisions of the Constitution, then the president may, or if a resolution on this behalf, is passed by each house separately, by proclamation the president can

(a)  assume to himself, or direct the governor of the province to assume on behalf of the president, all or any of the functions of the government of the province, and all or any of the powers vested in, or exercisable by, anybody or authority in the province, other than the provincial assembly;

(b)  declare that the powers of the provincial assembly shall be exercisable by, or under  the authority of, 2[Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament)]; and

(c)  make such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the president to be necessary or desirable for giving effect to the objects of the proclamation, including provisions for suspending in whole or in part the operation of any provisions of the Constitution relating to any body or authority in the province.

Provided that nothing in this Article shall authorise the President to assume to himself, or direct the Governor of the Province to assume on his behalf, any of the powers vested in, or exercisable by, a High Court, or to suspend either in whole or in part the operation  of any provisions of the Constitution relating to High Courts.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2013.

Related Videos

Reader Comments (30)

  • Jan 14, 2013 - 4:05AM

    And then he woke up from deep sleep with his blurry vision trying to recognise things around him and was flabbergasted to see that his regime was toppled in mere 36 hours.

    Recommend

  • aaa
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:19AM

    a house divded cannot stand
    Some lobbies want to this into a shia-sunni issue
    but I remind them today 24 pakistani soliders were also killed, so if army cannot protect it self how to protect civilians ?
    terrorism can only be defeated through a stronger economy something PPP cannot deliver

    Recommend

  • sabi
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:20AM

    If there is emergency imposed in whole of Pakistan to get rid of abusers of religion whole world will wellcome it.

    Recommend

  • Dr.X
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:24AM

    This shows one thing; no matter how big, incompetent or brutal your government, it is always going to be afraid of the people. I hope we, as a nation, can learn a lesson from today.

    Recommend

  • Truth detector
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:36AM

    SC was right after all. Months ago they ruled the government as ineffective. So, with this step SC stands vindicated. Salute to Hazaras for their courage in bearing the tragedy & standing up for the right cause.

    Recommend

  • Asad
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:43AM

    Finally…

    Recommend

  • uet
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:48AM

    Another shameful day in history of Pakistan when in dark hours of night an elected assembly
    being dismissed. Only fools would think it will halt what is going on in Baluchistan and Pakistan.
    Fault lines run too deep to be overcome by dismissing elected assemblies. How many times
    before same medicine been tried before.

    keeping democratic institutions going is only way of strengthening them. Alternative is only uncertainty and more chaos.

    Recommend

  • Prince Nasar
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:57AM

    It will change nothing. Instead the protesters will be the next target of the known killers.

    Recommend

  • M.AKRAM
    Jan 14, 2013 - 4:57AM

    Balouchistan should be divided in four subunits on the basis of ethnic and geography for proper administration and management.

    Recommend

  • Humayun
    Jan 14, 2013 - 5:28AM

    Hope it will improve the situation in Balochistan

    Recommend

  • Hassaan
    Jan 14, 2013 - 5:30AM

    Just look at the above picture. Zardari – YOU HAVE TO RESIGN NOW.

    Recommend

  • Khalq e Khuda
    Jan 14, 2013 - 5:47AM

    PPP has committed a huge blunder by imposing Governors rule in Balochistan. The buck won’t stop here and soon Sindh would be new target of the forces that be. JUIF was surprisingly making most sense when they said an in house change should be made.

    Recommend

  • Rafi
    Jan 14, 2013 - 6:34AM

    Raisani does not have the capacity to care for the people of his province. The country needs sincere leaders who lose sleep over the injustices and hardships faced by the citizens under their care.
    There is no higher calling.

    Recommend

  • Aviator
    Jan 14, 2013 - 6:47AM

    He called Thursday’s bombings an “inhuman act” and said that the top leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party, along with the entire nation, shared the grief of the Hazara community.

    But what is he, as Prime Minister, actually going to DO to end terrorism in the country? Where is the action plan, the formulation of strategies and reforms to end extremist ideology in Pakistan? What about some sort of action to find the killers and bring them to justice?

    No, instead the Prime Minister and President have decided to do nothing.

    Unless URGENT ACTION is taken NOW, then I think its only a matter of time till the next terrorist attack.

    The nationwide protests are effective, the pressure on the government needs to be increased now to actually make them sit up and take notice that the people of Pakistan want an end to terrorism!

    Recommend

  • kala_bacha
    Jan 14, 2013 - 7:12AM

    Governor rule or army rule won’t change this lawlessness unless we change our self from inside out.

    Recommend

  • waqas tariq
    Jan 14, 2013 - 7:36AM

    at last. now see how democracy march end up…..

    Recommend

  • Nauman
    Jan 14, 2013 - 7:43AM

    When will Zardari act like a leader and visit these victims?

    Recommend

  • Usman786
    Jan 14, 2013 - 8:01AM

    this should be right time to mend way. do good for Balochis and Hazaras. Include Mangels and Budtis’s son in govt. Also change indecisive FC head who needs GHQ permission to reach leaders/setting appointments

    Recommend

  • Zaman
    Jan 14, 2013 - 8:08AM

    At last….This incident at least show us that Baloch people are not alone, whole country is with us.

    Recommend

  • Hasan
    Jan 14, 2013 - 8:10AM

    Hazaras are the most effected people of terrorism. They deserve justice, and all Pakistanis should treat them equally.

    Recommend

  • a&a
    Jan 14, 2013 - 8:32AM

    & will they act against the TTP . . . . .????

    Recommend

  • Xtreme
    Jan 14, 2013 - 8:36AM

    O God, bless them with Hidaya for they don’t know what they are doing.!

    Recommend

  • Ricky
    Jan 14, 2013 - 8:50AM

    The timing of this blatant cowardly and inhuman massacre of so many people is suspicious to say the least. On the eve of “long march” to put pressure on the govt by a foreigner this genocide took place for no apparent reason. The Hazara are patriotic Pakistani and a thorn in the side of Taliban and their protectors both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is not surprising that the deep state is using their strategic assets to exploit situation to its advantage and continue to usurp most of the resources. The same reason there are borders skirmishes with India when the easy visa and friendship was starting.

    Recommend

  • Aysha
    Jan 14, 2013 - 9:22AM

    The incident is extremely tragic, but, pls respect the dead, it is encouraged in Islam to bury as soon as possible.

    The Ahmedies when lost nearly the same number of people in Lahore May 2010, while offering prayers, were able to bury their dead within almost 24 hours, even when they had to move the bodies from Lahore to Chenb Nagar with no government support.

    Recommend

  • Ricky
    Jan 14, 2013 - 9:47AM

    @Aysha: It is this attitude of some Muslims that “you bury the dead to my wishes and beliefs” is responsible for what is happening today. If Hazara do not want to bury their dead it is their choice not your or mine. Instead of helping them and provide protection we have no business to expect anything from them. They are their loved ones and it is none of our business to impose our religious belief.

    Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 14, 2013 - 9:55AM

    There was no other option eleft for the Government except that to impose Governor Rule.

    The credit goes to the protesters who made sit-in “Dharna” on Alamdar Road for continuous three days with 86 dead bodies in the freezing temperature which compelled the Prime Minister to reach Quetta and to impose Governor Rule.

    Recommend

  • Aysha
    Jan 14, 2013 - 10:12AM

    @Ricky:
    The protest must continue until justice is seen to be provided, however, it would be good to remember that it is not just an ‘attitude’ of some but an important injunction of Islam to bury the dead at the earliest.

    All support and sympathy with the people of Hazara

    Recommend

  • Hasnain
    Jan 14, 2013 - 12:40PM

    The Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing the case of “missing persons” and target killings” had rightly observed that the governance system in Balochistan has totally collapsed. But the corrupt & incompetent PPP and its allies kept clinging to the government and did not dismiss Aslam Raisani.
    Hats-off to Hazara for getting the Supreme Court observation implemented.

    Recommend

  • S
    Jan 14, 2013 - 12:44PM

    Agree with @Aysha

    Recommend

  • Jain
    Jan 14, 2013 - 8:18PM

    I am with the Hazara community and really feel their sorrow is like mine, but demanding a military rule is baseless. Just quote to share for every Pakistani.
    The worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship.

    Recommend

More in Balochistan