And even though confusion surrounds the exact date and time of the expiry of governor’s rule, Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Durrani confirmed to The Express Tribune on Wednesday that the restoration of Raisani’s government was certain given that President Asif Ali Zardari’s proclamation of governor’s rule in the province was set to expire on March 14.
Article 234 of the Constitution, which allows the president to impose governor’s rule in a province, provides for a two-month period of governor’s rule, after which any extension has to be approved by a joint sitting of Parliament.
“A proclamation issued under the Article 234 shall be laid before a joint sitting and shall cease to be in force at the expiration of two months, unless before the expiration of that period it has been approved by resolution of the joint sitting and may by like resolution be extended for a further period not exceeding two months at a time; but no such proclamation shall in any case remain in force for more than six months,” reads clause (3) of the same Article.
The provincial assembly in the insurgency-hit province, which has also been the focus of rising sectarian violence, is due to complete its term on April 5, unless it is dissolved at an earlier date.
Raisani, who was earlier being persuaded to voluntarily resign, will take the centre stage in setting up an interim government with restoration of the provincial government. However, efforts to obtain a resignation from the ousted chief minister had failed and Raisani, who has been holding negotiations in Islamabad since his return from the UAE, was likely to call a meeting of his supporters in the provincial assembly today (Thursday), The Express Tribune learnt.
As a result of the negotiations between leaders of coalition partners it has been decided that the PML-Q will be recognised as the main opposition party in the Balochistan Assembly. Another senior official, requesting anonymity, said all the matters pertaining to the caretaker chief minister of Balochistan will be decided in Islamabad in consultation with the PPP leadership.
PPP, PML-Q and Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F are major parties in the provincial government. To install a caretaker government either the PML-Q or JUI-F would have to occupy the position of leader of opposition in the provincial assembly.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi had a hectic day himself in the federal capital where he met Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to discuss all the technicalities surrounding the caretaker set-up.
On the other hand, Balochistan Advocate General Amanullah Kanrani said the provincial government would be restored at the stroke of midnight on March 14.
‘’Constitutionally the sixty days time period of governor’s rule will come to an end on March 14, therefore the provincial chief minister and his cabinet will be reinstated automatically,” he said.
However, he went on to add that the assembly could be dissolved by the provincial governor on the advice of the chief minister under Article 112 of the constitution, after which the caretaker government in Balochistan can be formed.
Besides being heavily censured by the Supreme Court for struggling to maintain the law and order situation, the provincial capital of Quetta has also been hit by two huge bombings this year targeting Shia Hazaras that have killed nearly 200 people.
President Asif Ali Zardari has begun final consultations with the leaders of allied parties on the interim set-up, which is scheduled to be in place at the centre and in provinces by the end of this week. The president along with his key aides held a detailed meeting with the top leadership of PML-Q to discuss the contours of the upcoming interim government, according to sources.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2013.
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