Abdul Quddus Bizenjo elected as new CM Baluchistan

Abdul Quddus Bizenjo

News Analysis |

The Baluchistan assembly on Saturday elected Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, former Baluchustan deputy speaker, as the third chief minister of the province, since 2013. The elections took place amidst tight security after a terrorist attack took place outside the assembly on 9th January. Abdul Quddus Bizenjo of PML-Q and Syed Liaquat Agha of PKMAP competed with each other for the coveted position of Chief Minister Baluchistan.

Abdul Rahim Khan Ziaratwal of PKMAP had also submitted his nomination papers but he withdrew. Bizenjo managed to bag 41 votes against 13 votes of Agha. Abdul Quddus Bizenjo belongs to the Pakistan Muslim league-Quaid(PML-Q), his party has only five seats in the Baluchistan assembly, yet he as the compromise candidate for others, managed to become the third chief minister of the current parliament. Bizenjo belongs to the troubled Awaran district of Baluchistan. He won his PB-41 seat with a total of 544 votes out of over 57,000 registered votes after the separatist decided to boycott the election.

Bizenjo’s victory as CM leaves a shaky future for the PML-N in Baluchistan. Not only did the dissident PML-N members voted for Bizenjo but also the members of Zehri’s former cabinet.

Awaran is one of the most economically backward districts of Pakistan and has been a breeding ground of separatists for many years. It can be hoped that with the election of Bizenjo, some of these grievances can be addressed. The new leader surfaced when 14 dissident MPAs filed a no-confidence motion against the earlier Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, accusing his leadership of incompetence and lack of consensus in decisions.

Read more: Members of provincial assembly lose faith in Baluchistan Chief Minister

Later PML-N ministers Mir Sarfaraz Bugti, Sardar Sarfaraz Domki and Prince Ahmed Ali, followed submitted their resignations. Despite repeated attempts from the central and provincial leadership of PML-N, it failed to appease the legislators and Sanaullah Zehri was forced to resign on 9th January. The dissident MPAs of PML-N and other parties had already announced their support to Bizenjo on Friday. In a press conference, the opposition parties presented Bizenjo as their unified candidate and offered full support to him.

It is not sure who would become part of Abdul Quddus Bizenjo’s cabinet, opposition members already declared yesterday that they will not become part of the government.

Bizenjo announced that he would approach the National Party(NP) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party(PKMAP) for their support. The National Party(NP) refrained from voting in the elections and expressed their disapproval at the recent turn of events. The PKMAP candidate Liaquat Agha only received votes from his own party. The majority party in the Baluchistan assembly PML-N failed to reach a consensus over their chief minister candidate, despite having a number of potential candidates.

Read more: Chief Minister Baluchistan resigns

The reason for the lack of consensus is believed to the number of dissident PML-N candidates. Sarfraz Bugti and Jam Muhammad Jamali were also considered for the position but the former premier Nawaz Sharif didn’t agree on them. Since they were part of the no-confidence motion filed earlier; they had also showed doubts towards the PML-N leadership. Sarfraz Bugti also expressed his desire to leave the PML-N.

The National Party(NP) refrained from voting in the elections and expressed their disapproval at the recent turn of events. The PKMAP candidate Liaquat Agha only received votes from his own party.

Nawabzada Jangayz Marri was part of the PML-N possible candidate list but when he was approached, he refused to take part in the elections in the face of eminent defeat. Reportedly, the PML-N leader approached the deposed CM Sanaullah Zehri for his support, but he refused the leadership since PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif didn’t come to Baluchistan to rescue him for the crisis. It is believed that the PML-N leadership gave a silent nod to the in-house change in Baluchistan.

Read more: Abdul Quddus Bizenjo nominated as next CM Baluchistan

Bizenjo’s victory as CM leaves a shaky future for the PML-N in Baluchistan. Not only did the dissident PML-N members voted for Bizenjo but also the members of Zehri’s former cabinet.

Their disagreement with the central leadership would prove dangerous for the upcoming 2018 General Elections. It is not sure who would become part of Abdul Quddus Bizenjo’s cabinet, opposition members already declared yesterday that they will not become part of the government. It is most likely that the former coalition government would continue but after PKMAP’s opposition, they might part ways with their partners.

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