ISLAMABAD/QUETTA: As the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) reached an agreement to support each other at the Centre and in Balochistan, the former on Tuesday announced that it would support the latter’s chief Jam Mir Kamal Khan Alyani’s candidature as the next chief minister of Balochistan.
Jam Kamal along with his party’s four MNAs-elect met PTI chairman Imran Khan in Islamabad and extended support to the PTI for formation of its government at the Centre. Reciprocally, the PTI assured BAP that it would be a part of the coalition government to be formed by BAP in Balochistan.
BAP has emerged as the single largest party in the July 25 elections winning 15 provincial assembly seats. The PTI has won five provincial assembly seats.
BAP also has the support of three independents, three MPAs from the Awami National Party, two from the Hazara Democratic Party and two from the Balochistan National Party-Awami. BAP’s total strength has now reached 30 in the 51-member Balochistan Assembly.
It is expected that BAP will get at least four seats reserved for women and minorities, while the PTI is expecting two women seats. With the addition of these seats, the strength of BAP and its allies will reach over 35, while 33 seats are required to form the government in Balochistan.
With inclusion of BAP’s four MNAs in the PTI-led coalition, the latter’s position has further strengthened at the Centre as the party’s spokesman Fawad Chaudhry had on Monday claimed to have secured 168 seats of the lower house of parliament.
After meeting Imran Khan, BAP president Jam Kamal and PTI’s senior leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jahangir Tareen held a joint press conference outside Mr Khan’s Banigala residence.
Mr Tareen, who has been disqualified by the Supreme Court in the assets concealment case and barred from holding any public and party office, said both sides reached consensus on all points.
“I congratulate the nation for the teamwork to be displayed by both PTI and BAP in Balochistan. I am confident that much-awaited change will take place in the province soon,” he added.
He said that with the support of the PTI and other allies, BAP enjoyed simple majority in the province. “Now it is the right of BAP that chief minister of Balochistan should be from BAP and for this we will support the candidature of Jam Kamal for the slot,” he said.
Jam Kamal said their meeting with Imran Khan remained quite successful and his party supported the PTI unconditionally. He said BAP and PTI coordination had first taken place during the last Senate elections in March this year. “Both parties’ main objectives are common and we believe that our coalition will fetch improvement in Balochistan and its people,” he said.
Jam Kamal said the PTI and BP would run affairs of both the Center and Balochistan as one unit and devise a plan to overcome backwardness and fragile political situation in the province.
PTI vice president Shah Mehmood Qureshi said both BAP and PTI wanted progress and prosperity in Balochistan, whereas some elements still wanted unrest in the province. He paid tribute to the people of Balochistan for their full participation in the 2018 polls despite all odds and one of the severe suicide attacks occurred a few days before the elections.
Referring to BAP, he said that for the first time such a political leadership had emerged in Balochistan which wanted to work together with the Centre. “The vision of both parties is good for the better future of Balochistan,” he added.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2018