Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfikar Ali Magsi dissolved the provincial assembly on Monday while the deadlock over the interim set-up persists.
Over in Sindh, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah also sent the advice to Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan for the dissolution of the provincial Assembly amidst reports that the government and opposition are nearing consensus on the caretaker government in the province.
The Balochistan Assembly was to complete its constitutional tenure on April 6 but the decision of the dissolution came after the four provincial chief ministers along with Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf unanimously agreed to dissolve provincial assemblies before March 19.
The Balochistan Assembly is the first of all provincial legislatures to dissolve. However, an interim set-up in the province is yet to be established and Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani will remain the chief minister till a caretaker chief minister is appointed.
Opposition leader issue
The Balochistan High Court suspended a notification by Balochistan Assembly Speaker Matiullah Agha of the appointment of Maulana Abdul Wasey as the leader of the opposition. The court, instead, directed Tariq Magsi to take up the post.
A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, also asked the advocate general to appear before the court on Tuesday.
The court was hearing a constitutional petition filed by Magsi, which stated that Maulana Wasey had been working as a senior minister for the past five years and the speaker made him leader of the opposition just when an interim set-up is going to be established.
In another development, Governor Magsi terminated the services of chief minister’s advisers on Raisani’s advice. They are Zareena Zehri, Shahida Rauf, Uzma Piralizai and Husan Bano Rakshani.
Earlier, 25 members from various political parties – including the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz – had submitted their applications in the Balochistan Assembly Secretariat to sit on the opposition benches.
Talking to reporters, they said the appointment of a minister as leader of the opposition was unconstitutional and was challenged in the high court.
They warned that five more ministers were going to resign which would increase their strength from 25 to 30.
Lawmaker Jafar Khan Mendokhel told The Express Tribune that apart from the five ministers, two more would join them which would make their number 32.
It may be mentioned that Magsi was appointed as the opposition leader in the Balochistan Assembly last December by former speaker Muhammad Aslam Bhootani.
Sindh interim set-up
On the advice of Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Governor Ebad is likely to dissolve the Sindh Assembly today (Tuesday). The provincial chief secretary has been directed to stop implementation on the orders of cabinet ministers and prepare for the caretaker set-up.
Leaders from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), led by Chief Minister Ali Shah, and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), led by Sardar Ahmed Shah, met at the Governor House on Monday but could not evolve consensus on the caretaker chief minister.
Provincial Information Minister Sharjeel Memon told The Express Tribune that both parties would finalise the caretaker chief minister today (Tuesday).
The two sides have agreed to select a caretaker chief minister with mutual consent, according to a source, who added that the two names shortlisted are Justice (retd) Zahid Qurban Alvi and Justice Deedar Hussain Shah.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2013.