Balochistan government, sleeping through its term

A look at the Balochistan ministers’ lifestyles makes it seem as though Pakistan faces no economic crisis at all.

Shahzad Balouch December 29, 2010
As a journalist I usually visit the Provincial Secretariat and have hardly ever found any minister present in his office, even though the current Balochistan government retains the biggest cabinet in the province's history.

Barring three, all the other MPAs on the treasury benches have portfolios, residential accommodations, phone and a fleet of cars though officially permitted to retain one.

Looking at the Balochistan ministers’ life styles, it seems as though Pakistan faces no economic crisis at all.

The only opposition member, Yar Mohammad Rind has never attended an Assembly session except for the day he was administered the oath.

On the other hand, the leadership of nationalist parties that boycotted the last general election is either sitting abroad or in Islamabad comfortably away from their own political constituencies.

The culture of public meetings, processions and political rallies is also diminishing, and fewer people participate in such rallies, if organised occasionally.

The same lack of interest plagues the Balochistan Assembly where the attendance of law makers has never crossed over 30 members. The Speaker has had to adjourn the session twice in the last month owing to a lack of quorum, something that has never happened in the past. In fact, the MPAs have really never been involved in serious legislation.

Also, the highly volatile situation in Balochistan has left no space for political parties to mobilise public opinion or indulge in lawful political activities. A visit to the Ministers’ block in the Civil Secretariat will confirm absence of ministers from their headquarters in fear of their lives.

However, amidst the usual absentees, Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani makes his presence felt on the political plain with his rather ‘juicy’ statements to the media.

For instance, the ever so famous “Degree is a Degree,” comment, as well as the “male is male whether female or Bolan Mail (a passenger train operating between Karachi and Quetta).

Balochistan will continue to remain in perennial trouble if serious efforts are not made to rescue its prevailing slumber. The government as well as the opposition has surrendered to the whims of the establishment that is ruling ultimately – to what extent, no one really knows.
Shahzad Balouch A correspondent for The Express Tribune in Quetta.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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