KARACHI: Three days after meeting Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the lone member of the National Assembly belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in Sindh, Hakeem Baloch, on Tuesday resigned from his seat and formally joined the PPP.
Mr Baloch rejoined the PPP for a third time during his about three-decades-long political career. In 1988, he had contested and won a Sindh Assembly seat from the rural fringes of Karachi on a PPP ticket.
He met the party’s provincial coordination committee at the Chief Minister House where he resigned from the basic membership of the PML-N and formally joined the PPP.
He said he had also resigned from the National Assembly seat (NA-258) in Gadap.
CM Murad Ali Shah welcomed Mr Baloch in the party fold, adding, he was happy to receive him as he had been a member of the cabinet of his late father Syed Abdullah Shah. “He was our old colleague. He left us for a while but his return is like someone returns to the family.”
Mr Baloch said that the federal government was only for Punjab. “Prime Minister Sharif had promised a special development package for Malir but he never kept that promise.”
He said slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had created the Malir district and now her party’s government in Sindh was working on its uplift.
Senior Sindh Minister Nisar Khuhro, who is also the convener of the coordination committee, welcomed Mr Baloch.
Mr Baloch had won the provincial assembly’s seat — then called PS-98 when the PA’s strength was 100 — for a three consecutive terms in the general elections held in 1988, 1990 and 1993.
In 1997, he parted ways with the PPP when the party preferred Sher Muhammad Baloch over him and did not award him a ticket. He contested and lost the 2002 general elections on a NA seat against the PPP’s Sher Mohammad.
In 2008, he rejoined the PPP and got a ticket for contesting the general election on a provincial assembly constituency (PS-126 encompassing Gadap and Gulshan-i-Iqbal). However, he lost the election to Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Faisal Subzwari.
He won the 2013 general election on NA-258 constituency against PPP’s Abdul Razzaq and became the only MNA of the PML-N from Sindh.
The three years he spent with the PML-N, his close aides say, ‘immensely disappointed’ him.
He wanted to get the ministry of ports and shipping, but he was placed under Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique as minister of state. Later, he was made state minister for communication two years ago. Even the reshuffle in the cabinet earned Hasil Bizenjo, not him, the port and shipping ministry.
He had formally resigned as a minister in last April.
His critics said people showed their dismay over his failure in offering development to the sprawling rural parts of Karachi. “It will be difficult for the PPP to award him ticket again in the by-election on NA-258 as he has lost popularity in the constituency,” said a local PPP leader.
Published in Dawn September 28th, 2016