• Says any bid to dissolve assembly will be resisted
• Fourteen ministers, four advisers appointed
• One PkMAP, three NP lawmakers violate party decision
QUETTA: Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, the consensus candidate of all but two parties in the Balochistan Assembly, comfortably won the election of the new chief minister of the province against Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Syed Liaquat Agha on Saturday.
Mr Bizenjo, who was elected an MPA in May 2013 from Awaran on a Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) ticket by bagging 544 votes, was along with 14 provincial ministers sworn in as the CM by Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai at a ceremony held here at the Governor House.
The size of the new CM’s cabinet comes to 18 as he also appointed four advisers. PML-N dissident Mir Sarfaraz Bugti retained his position in the cabinet as the home minister, while the key portfolio of the finance department was given to Dr Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi who would work as the CM’s adviser.
The assembly previously saw the election of two chief ministers during the past four-and-a-half years. First, the the National Party’s Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was elected unopposed as the provincial chief executive on June 8, 2013 for a period of two-and-a-half years under an agreement, known as the Murree Accord, between the NP and PML-N. He remained the CM till December 2015 when PML-N candidate Nawab Sanaullah Zehri took over for the remaining term of the assembly on Dec 24, 2015. He was also elected unopposed.
Polling for the new leader of the house, which fell vacant after the resignation of CM Zehri as a result of a no-trust motion against him, was held in the Balochistan Assembly amid strict security.
Speaker Raheela Hameed Khan Durrani informed the house that of the 65-member house, a total of 54 lawmakers exercised their right of vote and Mr Bizenjo — the joint candidate of the PML-N, PML-Q and combined opposition — got 41 votes against PkMAP’s Liaquat Agha who bagged 13 votes.
The PkMAP has 14 members in the assembly and one of its members, Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, cast his vote in favour of Mr Bizenjo. He was quickly rewarded for his defection as Mr Bizenjo included him in his cabinet and the lawmaker was among those who took the oath as provincial ministers.
Despite their party’s announcement about abstaining from the vote, three MPAs of the National Party (NP) — Mir Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Muhammad Fateh Buledi and Khalid Langov — cast their votes in favour of Mr Bizenjo. Mr Langov was also one of the signatories to the no-trust motion against former CM Zehri.
The NP has 11 lawmakers in the assembly and eight of them, including former CM Baloch, did not attend Saturday’s session.
Three other lawmakers who did not cast their votes are former CM Zehri and PML-N’s Samina Khan, who could not reach the assembly in time from Islamabad due to a flight delay.
Speaker Durrani, who chaired the session, declared Mr Bizenjo the new elected CM and asked him to take over the seat of the leader of the house.
‘Assembly to complete term’
Declaring that the Balochistan Assembly would complete its constitutional term, the new CM announced at the floor of the house that any attempt for dissolution of the assembly would be resisted with full force.
He vowed to fight against all kinds of terrorism and said that those who killed innocent people were terrorists. “Terrorism will not be tolerated at any cost,” he said.
Former CM Jan Muhammad Jamali, Sardar Saleh Bhootani and other members said that Balochistan exercised its power first time after the 18th amendment to the Constitution, as all decisions regarding change of government and nomination of a consensus candidate for the slot of CM were taken by the provincial leadership, and not from Raiwind or Murree.
Mr Bizenjo told the house that he would try his level best to resolve the problems the people and province were facing and would not repeat mistakes committed in the past that paved the way for submission of a no-trust motion.
He said that the no-trust motion was a democratic way to change the government and ministers, and MPAs who were not satisfied with the government used their constitutional and democratic right.
“We did no illegal or undemocratic act,” he said, adding that despite having ministers and other incentives PML-N members extended all help and cooperation sacrificing their ministries and other facilities.
Mr Bizenjo said he was chosen for the top slot of the province despite the presence of very senior parliamentarians and leaders.
He said almost all parties supported him in the election. “I will deserve real congratulation when I succeed in resolving maximum problems in minimum time.”
He said that he would not tolerate any delay in the completion of development projects.
He said restoring complete law and order, health, education and early completion of the projects launched under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor were his top propriety.He announced establishment of a cancer hospital in Balochistan.
Later, talking to newsmen, he said that he and his government would honour those who joined the mainstream “as they are our brothers”.
“There are some misguided people and if they abandoned their armed activities we would welcome them,” he said.
He thanked all parties, members of PML-N, PML-Q, senior leaders and members of combined opposition for extending their support for electing him new leader of the house.
Earlier, leader of the opposition Maulana Abdul Wasey, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Mr Jamali, Mr Bhootani, Agha Muhammad Raza, Dr Hamid Achakzai, Engineer Zamarak Khan Piralizai, Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, Sardar Dur Muhammad Nasar, Anita Irfan, Kishwar Jattak, Mr Agha, Prince Ali Ahmed Ahmedzai, Mr Langove, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetiran, Mir Asim Kurd and others also congratulated Mr Bizenjo and expressed the hope that he would make efforts to resolve the problems of the province.
They assured all help and cooperation to him his efforts he will make in this connection.
Portfolios allocated to new ministers, advisers
The new ministers, include Nawab Changaiz Khan Marri (irrigation and power), Sardar Sarfaraz Chakar Domki (fisheries), Rahat Faiq Jamali (labour, manpower and industry), Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti (home, tribal affairs and prison), Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel (agriculture and cooperative societies), Prince Ahmed Ali Ahmedzai (science, information technology and environment), Tahir Mehmood (education), Manzoor Ahmed Kakar (revenue), Mir Asim Kurd Gilu (communication and works), Mir Aamir Rind (services and general administration), Mir Ghulam Dastagir Badini (local government, rural development and urban planning), Muhammad Akbar Askani (mines and minerals), Abdul Majid Abro (health) and Syed Agha Raza (law and parliamentary affairs, prosecution, forest and wild life).
The CM also appointed four advisers — Dr Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi (finance), Abdul Karim Nosherwani (excise and taxation and transport), Amanullah Notezai for (public health engineering and Wasa and CWA) and Anwar-Ul-Haq Kakar (information).
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2018