Balochistan cabinet formation in limbo

Delay in assigning of portfolios results in a growing uneasiness in the ruling coalition

Syed Ali Shah April 05, 2024


Despite Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti's assurances to the media, the much-anticipated formation of the Balochistan cabinet, slated for April 4, is still pending, leaving the coalition parties in suspense.

While provincial cabinets have been established in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh, Balochistan has yet to follow suit, even after more than a month since election.

Assurances were given that portfolio distribution among lawmakers would commence after the Senate voting on April 2. However, this commitment remains unfulfilled, further escalating the already tense political climate in the province.

In a bid to prevent horse-trading and vote-selling, coalition partners, along with opposition factions, collaborated to ensure the uncontested victory of Balochistan's senators. Their efforts yielded results, with 11 senators elected unopposed, showcasing a rare unity among political adversaries.

The delay in the oath-taking ceremony of provincial ministers has been attributed to the death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of the ruling PPP and former prime minister of Pakistan.
CM Bugti's absence, reportedly due to his brother's medical treatment in Dubai, has been cited as a contributing factor to the delay, further complicating the situation.

While there has been no official confirmation from the chief minister or the government spokesman in Balochistan, insiders suggest that the cabinet formation process is facing significant hurdles due to constraints outlined in the 18th amendment.

This amendment limits the province to accommodate only 14 provincial ministers and 5 advisers. With the number of the PPP, PML-N lawmakers, and their allies exceeding 40, allocating positions becomes a daunting task, ripe with potential for intra-party conflicts and discontent.

As the political landscape in Balochistan remains uncertain, stakeholders await further developments regarding the formation of the provincial cabinet, hoping for resolution amidst mounting pressures and expectations.

Cracks are likely to emerge after the distribution of portfolios among the members of the treasury benches, with potential resistance from the losers against the chief minister.


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