Three MPAs, other BAP leaders join PPP
KARACHI: A number of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leaders on Saturday parted ways with the ruling party in Balochistan and joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after weeks of talks spearheaded by former president Asif Ali Zardari.
The announcement to join Sindh’s ruling party was made after a meeting with Mr Zardari at Bilawal House in Karachi. A brief statement issued by the Bilawal House said MPAs Zahoor Buledi, Saleem Khosa, and Arif Muhammad Hasani called on the PPP leader.
Other BAP leaders included Haji Malik Shah Gorej, Mir Wali Muhammad, Mir Asghar Rind, Mir Faiq Jamali, Sardarzada Faisal Jamali, and Agha Shakeel Durrani.
“The PPP has always raised its voice for Balochistan. The province had a special place in Shaheed Bibi’s [Benazir Bhutto] heart. The PPP has done a lot for Balochistan but definitely more needed to be done for the province,” the statement quoted the PPP leader as saying.
The BAP leaders justified their move to join the PPP, citing “growing challenges” in the province and the region that could only be handled through “visionary leadership”. They weren’t only confident about the future prospects of the PPP in Balochistan but also its role in the current setup of the governance.
“The PPP is sort of our mother party as most of us were actively associated with the PPP in the past,” Arif Muhammad Hasani told Dawn. In response to a question about how the move would affect the provincial government led by BAP leader Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, Mr Hasani said, “We would soon discuss what needs to be done with the current government. The change, I think, would definitely emerge; the thing is that we have to decide when, how and on which scale it should happen.” Mr Hasani added that they would be back in Quetta to discuss all these issues and come up with a strategy based on consensus.
However, experts don’t see any significant change in the current provincial setup in spite of the departure of the bigwigs. However, they believe this move would definitely affect the general elections in Balochistan. “It’s a major blow to BAP but I don’t think it poses any threats to CM Bizenjo,” said Shahid Rind, a Quetta-based journalist who covers politics.
Mr Rind hinted that more provincial leaders would join PPP due to the ‘reconciliation’ efforts led by Mr Zardari. “You would see more such announcements soon from electables from the ruling BAP and other parties as well.”
The BAP leaders’ entry into the PPP is being considered a ‘pre-emptive’ move by Mr Zardari to strengthen his party in Balochistan ahead of general elections. However, this “aggressive” politicking to bolster its ranks in Balochistan ahead of general elections has put PPP in apparent competition with its ally Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).
“It would be interesting to see how much ground the PPP would hold after its recent aggressive political campaign in Balochistan before the next general elections, as its ally in the Centre, JUI-F, has also been in the same mode for the past couple of months,” Mr Rind said, adding that in contrast to the PPP, Fazl’s JUI has a strong political and parliamentary presence in the province already.
“Both parties have put their campaigns [of wooing electables] in top gear. They are already in election mode,” he said, adding that the future of BAP is definitely in peril given the ambitions of these parties.
Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2023