The Balochistan Assembly on Thursday rejected the tabling of a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo after it failed to garner the support of the required number of lawmakers to move the motion.
According to the Constitution, a no-confidence motion needs the signatures of 20 per cent of the make-up of the legislative body to be tabled for discussion, while half the members must vote in favour of it to be passed.
In the 65-member Balochistan Assembly, a no-confidence motion requires 33 lawmakers' backing to be passed.
The motion bore the signatures of 14 lawmakers when it was submitted to the assembly last Wednesday. However, upon its tabling today, the support was reduced to 11 legislators against the requirement of a minimum of 13 MPAs.
The motion, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, had the signatures of 14 lawmakers, including Bizenjo's predecessor Jam Kamal Khan Alyani of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) — who had resigned when a similar motion was filed against him last year.
The other lawmakers had included Zahoor Buledi (BAP), Mohammad Arif (BAP), Asghar Khan Achakzai (ANP), Saleem Ahmed (BAP), Malik Naeem Bazai (ANP), Nawabzada Tariq Magsi (BAP), Mitta Khan Kakar (BAP), Bibi Fareeda (PTI), Mir Naimatullah Zehri (PTI), Mobeen Khan Khilji (PTI), Sardar Sarfaraz Chakar Domki (BAP) and Shaheena (ANP).
However, in a setback to Alyani and his group, PTI's Khilji, BAP's Magsi and ANP's Bazai did not turn up for the session today.
Deputy Speaker Sardar Babar Khan Mosakhel presided over the session today that began after a five-hour delay.
Talking to the media after the session, Alyani said he already knew his group lacked the required numbers, adding that "our purpose was to bring to light a number of things."
He said the future course of action will be decided after consultation with the allies. "I am also the president of the BAP, and so the members violating the law will be served a show-cause notice."
Alyani said he would speak to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders in Islamabad, adding that he had already spoken to fellow BAP leader Khalid Magsi to ask the government about its "silence" on the matter. "Why did they not honour their promise made with us?"
Meanwhile, BAP's Zahoor Buledi accused the federal government of indulging in corruption at a "high-scale".
Asad Baloch from the treasury benches hit out at Alyani, claiming that he tried to "harm the government" before the budget but "could not succeed".
Bizenjo was elected unopposed as the provincial chief executive in October, days after Alyani had resigned from the position following a months-long political crisis that had started with the latter's refusal to grant development funds to legislators.
PDM had promised 'unconditional support': Alyani
Speaking to the media before the session, Alyani said that PDM had promised its "unconditional support" for the no-confidence motion in exchange for BAP's support in ousting the PTI government.
"If PDM parties do not support us today, then we would first like to know why. Because we had not fixed the criteria at that time," he said, referring to the no-confidence motion against former prime minister Imran Khan. Our agreement was that they would support us whenever we presented the motion, he added.
"If they do not join us, then we will discuss it with our [allies]," he said, adding that his personal relations with Imran had not soured despite recent events. Our differences begun on one agenda which was that a provincial government was sent home and another was elected during their tenure, he said.
"Our expectation with this government was that they would rectify this. But if the PTI and the PDM do not want Bizenjo's government to be ousted, then the question arises about what exactly the differences are. They have to clarify it themselves."
He said that the PDM had assured him of its full support of their lawmakers in the no-trust move against Bizenjo. "There weren't any conditions. It was decided that they [PDM] will support us unconditionally."
He accepted that they did not have the requisite numbers to table and pass the no-confidence motion. Alyani added that by submitting the no-trust move against Bizenjo, lawmakers had presented their stance in front of people. "If you agree with us, then join us. But if you do not, then perhaps it raises a bigger question," he said.
He also expressed the fear that some of the party's leader would be "pressurised". Without pointing any fingers, he said that this had also happened in the past.
The BAP leader said that only one factor would have compelled the group to withdraw the no-confidence motion. "If PDM members [...] came to us and said we have made a promise, our advice is to take back the motion and think of another line of action with consensus, then we would have done it."
But since they have not said anything regarding this, we are going forward with tabling the motion, he said.