Balochistan Assembly speaker quits as opposition consider him for CM's post

Published October 25, 2021
In this file undated photo, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo addresses a press briefing. — Dawn/File
In this file undated photo, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo addresses a press briefing. — Dawn/File

Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo on Monday stepped down from his office and submitted his resignation to the assembly secretariat.

Bizenjo's resignation comes a day after embattled chief minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani tendered his resignation, ending a two-month-long political crisis that started with the ex-CM's refusal to grant development funds to legislators followed by agitation from the latter. The resignation was subsequently accepted by Governor Syed Zahoor Ahmed Agha.

The opposition has tipped Bizenjo — the leader of BAP — as the next chief executive of the province.

Speaking in the assembly today, opposition MPA Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran — who had tabled the no-confidence motion against Alyani in the legislature last week — said Bizenjo will be the leader of the House in days to come.

"I had already said that I would not rest until the removal of Kamal as the chief minister," he told the provincial legislature.

He also claimed that he was offered Rs200 million for giving up on the demand, adding that "I was threatened with dire consequences after I rejected the offer."

An attempt was made to block a democratic motion through an undemocratic tactic, he said, while referring to the no-confidence motion. He told the House that "the dark era has passed and we will create a new system for the development of Balochistan."

Khetran later withdrew his motion after the speaker informed the session that the chief minister had resigned from his office under Article 130 (8) of the Constitution.

Chairing the assembly session earlier, Bizenjo said the House condemned the disappearance of four MPAS including three women legislators last week.

Meanwhile, speaking to media outside the assembly, MPA Saleh Sardar Bhootani — who is also a part of the BAP — said a few names were under consideration for nomination to the chief minister's post.

He stressed that consultation on the matter was important with allied parties and not just a single political party. Bhootani said his party would strive to make the change visible for which all endeavours were being made.

Months-long political crisis

Alyani's resignation comes on the back of a months-long saga, whose early manifestations were witnessed in June this year when opposition members had camped outside the provincial assembly's building for days in protest against the government led by Alyani for its refusal to allocate development funds for their constituencies in the budget.

The protest had led to mayhem and police had later booked 17 opposition lawmakers in connection with the incident.

Following that, 16 members of the opposition had filed a no-trust motion against the chief minister. However, the Governor House Secretariat had returned the motion to the Balochistan Assembly on technical grounds.

Earlier this month, a no-confidence motion, signed by 14 lawmakers, had been submitted to the secretariat of the Balochistan Assembly, as Alyani continued to face criticism from the disgruntled members of his party over what they termed his failure to consult them in running the affairs of the province.

The 'missing' MPAs

Last week, opposition members had claimed that three female and one male MPAs had gone missing because they had signed the no-confidence motion against Jam Kamal.

The four MPAs had gone missing on the day when the angry group with the support of the opposition parties tabled the no-confidence motion in the Balochistan Assembly on Oct 20.

They later surfaced in Islamabad, claiming there had been no foul play. The MPAs, Akbar Askani, Bushra Rind, Laila Tareen and Mahjabeen Sheran, returned to Quetta in the official plane of the Balochistan government.

With the return of four ‘missing’ MPAs and their announcement of support for angry lawmakers of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), the success of the no-trust motion against Khan could not be ruled out as Nawab Sanaullah Zehri also joined hands with the disgruntled group.

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