QUETTA: Members of the Balochistan Assembly are all set to elect Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, a PML-Q lawmaker, as the new Leader of the House on Saturday.
Bizenjo will definitely become the new chief minister of Balochistan after more Muslim Leaguers announced support for him against the Pakhtunkhwa Mill Awami Party (PkMAP) nominee, presumably Syed Liaquat Agha.
Besides Agha, another PkMAP lawmaker, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, has also filed nomination papers for the election of the Leader of the House.
Members of the Opposition parties and both PML-N factions, apparently from the treasury benches, now support Bizenjo for the CM slot.
In a manner of speaking, both PML-N factions reunited after a brief break. They are now set to elect a new leader after Nawab Sanaullah Zehri tendered his resignation.
PML-N dissidents, who decided to support Bizenjo, are six in number after they were approached by their colleagues in the former coalition government to join hands.
Finding no other option and in the absence of an accord with other allies, they joined the dissidents in forming a new provincial government. A formal announcement to this effect was made after the group held a meeting under Sardar Dur Mohammad Nasir. There were differences among coalition partners, which prompted erstwhile members of the treasury benches to reject a similar offer from the PkMAP.
Another partner in the coalition government, the National Party, opted to stay independent as most of its members were disgusted by the absence of a political understanding among the former allies.
PkMAP, another coalition partner, decided to confront their former allies by nominating their own nominees – Liaquat Agha and Rahim Ziaratwal – as potential leader of the house.
PkMAP’s popularity is restricted and no one from outside the party is expected to cast vote in favour of either of its nominees. The PkMAP had 14 MPAs in the 65-member house.
Zehri is not expected to return and cast his vote in the prevailing political situation. Both factions of the PML agreed that they respected Zehri and would refrain from pointing out his shortcomings.
The Speaker will preside over the session and may opt not to cast her vote.
In the meantime, security measures have been beefed up ahead of the election for the leader of the house.
Thousands of policemen have been deployed around the assembly hall, and surrounding roads have been sealed off for regular traffic.
NP to stay neutral
The National Party, once a key partner in the coalition government, has opted not to sit either on the treasury or the opposition benches.
“We will not be a part of the government or the opposition and keep the party away from seeking ministerial posts,” said party’s spokesman Jan Mohammad Buledi. “The party will remain neutral,” he added.
The NP, he said, had separated itself from the ruling coalition, adopting an independent policy. “Our MPAs will not even cast their votes as the house elects a new leader,” he said. “We selflessly served people for four years and will continue to do so in the future,” he said.
Buledi insisted that the NP was not involved in bartering away people’s rights. He said his party would always be an ally of democratic forces, defending people’s rights.