QUETTA : The opposition has unanimously named Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Advocate Malik Sikandar as the leader of opposition in the Balochistan Assembly, putting an end to speculations regarding rifts among the opposition benches.
The Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) sources told The Express Tribune that the legislators from JUI-F and BNP-M, after many sittings, unanimously agreed upon Sikandar to lead the opposition parties in the house.
Both the parties’ delegations would meet former chief minister Aslam Raisani and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) to inform them of their support for Sikandar, they added.
The opposition parties are due to submit an application regarding notification of Sikandar as the opposition leader in the provincial assembly today (Sunday).
Delay in announcing the name of the opposition leader caused hurdles in constituting various committees of the assembly.
Separately, the Balochistan Educational Employees Action Committee held a protest outside the assembly against the provincial government’s newly-announced Educational Act 2018 barring teachers from strikes and protests.
The Teachers Action Committee staged a rally from Metropolitan Garden, chanting slogans against the act. The protesting teachers staged a sit-in outside the provincial assembly when the proceedings began.
The teachers vowed to continue their protest against the attempts to deprive teachers of their basic right.
Ironically, the provincial government during its initial stages attempted to steal the rights of teachers, which is considered the most respected sector of any society, they added.
It was highlighted that upon the call of teachers the protest would be recorded in all divisional headquarters.
Expressing solidarity with protesting teachers, the opposition members Malik Sikandar Advocate, Sanaullah Baloch, Malik Naseer Shahwani and Ahmed Nawaz Baloch assured the protesters that outside and inside the house they stand with teachers. Opposition parties were also unable to understand this development, he added.
Opposition representatives said they can’t deprive teachers of their due rights.
Awami National Party leaders Asghar Khan Achakzai and Engr Zamrak Khan also showed solidarity with the protesters. The ANP leaders said that the coalition partners should have taken opposition into confidence while announcing new reforms.
Upon assembly members’ assurance, the protesters dispersed peacefully and ended their protest.
Moreover, inside the assembly burgeoning drought, terrorism and abduction of a doctor remained the prime debates while the house also offered prayers for the martyred Frontier Corps personnel in Turbat.
During the proceedings, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Abdul Quddus Bizenjo administered oath to the newly-elected members – Balochistan Awami Party’s Abdul Rasheed Dashti and Sardar Masood Loni.
On the previously approved resolution over drought, BNP-M leader Sanaullah Baloch said, “The province is in chaos. Kidnappings, terrorism, and drought has jammed social life — but the provincial government has been focusing on jeep rallies which has stopped the cycle of development.
“Opposition parties have tabled a resolution in the assembly, seeking the government’s attention over the serious matter of drought and has demanded formation of a committee.”
He also said the government dispatched relief goods in drought-hit areas only after watching media reports and assuming that providing rations among affected people would resolve the issue.
“The Provincial Disaster Management Authority dispatched six trucks of relief goods in my constituency [Kharan] which would be unable to provide relief to merely 50 families,” Baloch said, demanding the house to pay attention towards the drought issue.
ANP leader Achakzai congratulated the newly-elected members and called for adopting concrete measures to end drought.
On teachers’ protest over educational allowance, Achakzai urged the government to address the issue on priority basis.
Calling house attention towards the missing persons’ protest, the BNP-M leader said people from all walks of life were sitting in the camp. “The provincial government has to show some seriousness towards this issue and debates should be set in the house upon such issues.”
Giving ruling over the demise of Senator Azam Musakhail, the speaker adjourned the proceeding till Dec 18.
It is pertinent to mention that the discussion over auditor general’s report of 2017-18 regarding provincial expenditures was due in Saturday’s assembly proceedings but over the demise of former MPA and member of Senate they were adjourned.