QUETTA: Political parties in Balochistan have started efforts for the formation of a coalition government in the province.

Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) president Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, former chief minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and president of his own faction of Balochistan National Party (BNP-M) Akhtar Mengal arrived in Quetta on Saturday.

Jam Kamal has announced forming a committee comprising senior BAP leaders for initiating talks with other parties. He said his party had formally invited all parties having representation in the Balochistan Assembly to join hands for formation of a coalition government.

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Akhtar Mengal has called his party’s cabinet council meeting on Sunday. BNP-M’s central committee will meet on Monday, which will take a decision about its candidate for the office of chief executive of the province.

Sources said the BNP-M, which has seven seats in the Balochistan Assembly, was making efforts to nominate Akhtar Mengal for post of chief minister.

While no party in the province could win a simple majority, the BAP has 18 MPAs-elect after three independents joined it in a house of 51 members.

Sardar Masood Khan Luni, Mehta Khan and Mir Mohammad Arif Mohammad Hasni, who were elected from Zhob, Loralai and Chagai, joined the BAP.

Masood Khan Luni defeated candidates of BAP, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).

Mehta Khan defeated seven-time legislator Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel and strong candidates of the MMA, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PkMAP.

Sources in the BAP have claimed that three MPAs-elect of the Awami National Party (ANP) and two belonging to the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) will support it in the formation of the next government.

“MPAs-elect of ANP and HDP have assured us of their support,” a senior leader of BAP told Dawn, adding that they would formally announce their decision soon.

The number of PTI MPAs-elect is now five after the election of Sardar Babar Musakhail from Musakhail-Sherani.

The MMA has eight MPAs-elect.

The Balochistan National Party-Awami (BNP-A) has won two seats, while the PML-N and PkMAP have managed to win only one seat each.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2018