KARACHI: National Party (NP) chief Senator Hasil Bizenjo said on Saturday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would pick a new chief minister of Balochistan in December, as per a deal agreed upon about two years ago.

He conceded that reports about the death of Baloch separatist leader Dr Allah Nazar still remained unconfirmed.

Addressing a press conference at Qasr-i-Naz, Senator Bizenjo said that under the Murree agreement — also termed a memorandum of understanding and agreed upon by Mr Sharif and him in 2013 — the five-year tenure of chief minister was to be divided into two equal periods during which the nominees of the NP and the PML-N would assume the charge of Balochistan’s chief executive.

He said the 30-month tenure of the NP’s nominee for the post, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, would end in December when the prime minister would nominate a PML-N member for the office of chief minister.

“We (the NP) will hand over the CM’s slot to the PML-N in December,” he said.

He said that reports about the death of Allah Nazar, the chief of the banned Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), appeared in the media on July 18. But the BLF had not confirmed the reports so far. “We cannot call such reports as confirmed accounts yet,” he said.

About the law and order situation in Balochistan, the NP chief claimed the estranged politicians and leaders of the restive province were “increasingly joining the mainstream”.

It was the responsibility of the federal government and the establishment, he said, to resolve the issue of missing persons, announce packages for Balochistan’s development and solve the economic problems of those who were laying down their arms.

Turning to the political situation in the country, the NP leader said the reservations expressed by the PPP and other opposition parties were not serious enough to send the PML-N government packing or “for anyone to impose martial law”. “Such tiny scuffles and rifts can be resolved through dialogue,” he said.

Senator Bizenjo expressed confidence that the PPP would not quit the parliament and said an all-parties conference would be convened soon to mull over political reforms. “It is time for the political parties to denounce corruption and make it clear that they have no militant wings. They will have to establish self-accountability mechanisms within their parties.”

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2015

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