PML-N dissidents, independents branch off into new Balochistan party

Mar 29, 2018
BY: Roohan Ahmed QUETTA: PML-N dissidents and independent lawmakers have formed the Balochistan Awami Party—in an apparent move to engineer the province’s political landscape. “The BAP will protect the constitutional rights of Balochistan and emerge as a strong partner of the federation,” said PML-Q’s Saeed Hashmi. “There will be no compromise on the economic and political wellbeing of the people of province.” The announcement was made at a press conference at none other than Chief Minister’s Secretariat, a venue associated with power in the province. Heavyweights, Sardar Saleh Bhutani, Nawaz Changaiz Marri, Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar, minister Sarfaraz Domki are party members. Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Binzenjo and provincial lawmakers were present. However, they did not announce that they were joining the party. Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said the BAP will emerge as the single largest political party in the forthcoming general elections. He said the five recently elected senators from Balochistan have joined. “Friends from PkMAP, National Party and Balochistan MNAs are also in contact with us,” said Sarfaraz Bugti. Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, who has been named BAP’s chief spokesman, said intra-party elections would be held within a month. Background Sanaullah Zehri, an influential chieftain and PML-N leader, was forced to resign as the chief minister after a revolt by his own cabinet members and coalition partners in January this year. As a result, the PML-N-led government was sent packing and Abdul Qudoos Binzenjo, a PML-Q lawmaker who could only secure over 500 votes from Awaran in the general elections, was made chief minister. The move was viewed by the PML-N leaders and its coalition partners as an arrangement to deprive the ruling party of Balochistan seats in the Senate elections. Later, an independent group led by CM Bizenjo and backed by both Imran Khan and Asif Zardari managed to win six out of 11 Balochistan seats in the Senate elections. Backed by a tacit agreement between the PTI and PPP, Sadiq Sanjrani, a little known politician from Balochistan’s Chagai district, was elected chairman of the upper house. PPP’s senator Saleem Mandviwala was elected his deputy. Additional reporting by Zain Uddin

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