QUETTA: A new Balochistan-based political party namely the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) was launched here on Thursday.

Former senator of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q Saeed Ahmed Hashmi and Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar announced the launch of the new party at a press conference at Chief Minister Secretariat.

Senators Sana Jamali, Nasibullah Bazai and Kuhda Babar, Sardar Muham­mad Saleh Bhootani, former provincial minister Saleem Khosa and other leaders were also present on the occasion.

Mr Hashmi, who had played a vital role in the removal of the PML-N-led collation government in Balochistan, said that the dissidents of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and many influential tribal elders would contest the coming general elections under the banner of the BAP.

PML-N dissidents will contest elections from new party’s platform, says ex-senator

He did not announce the names of the party chief and other office-bearers and said that all office-bearers, including president and secretary general, would be elected in intra-party elections, expected to be held in April or May. The party’s council session would also be held within two months.

Mr Hashmi said that the manifesto of the new party was in the process of preparation and it would be announced soon.

“I am parting ways with the Pakistan Muslim League after remaining part of it for a long time but my thinking will remain the same,” said Mr Hashmi.

He said that after the BAP’s membership campaign and intra-party elections, it would be registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan for taking part in the upcoming elections.

He said that the BAP would make election alliances with other parties.

Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, who has been appointed central spokesman for the BAP, said that the party had been formed to protect economic and political rights of Balochistan and its people which had been denied by the Centre for a long time.

“Achievement of economic and political rights of Balochistan will be the cornerstone of the party’s manifesto and the party will not compromise on the rights of Balochistan at any cost,” he said.

“Our prime slogan is safety of Pakistan,” Senator Kakar said.

Mr Kakar claimed that the Khan of Kalat and some other prominent leaders had announced their support for the party as all like-minded people wanted development, restoration of peace and prosperity of Balochistan.

Replying to a question, he said that the party would try to win majority of the seats from Balochistan in the 2018 elections. “We will not make tall claims as we believe in practical work,” he said, adding that their struggle would prove that the party and its leadership would succeed in getting good results for Balochistan.

Asked whether Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and the MPAs allied with him would join the BAP, Mr Kakar said that the party had been formed with their consultation and support and they would soon announce joining the new party.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2018