• Kakar gives up BAP, Senate seat
• Mengal unhappy, says interim PM’s appointment widened gulf between his BNP and PML-N
• Shehbaz terms Kakar ‘most suitable’ person to lead caretaker set-up
QUETTA: A day after his nomination as the caretaker prime minister, Anwarul Haq Kakar on Sunday announced his resignation from the Senate as well as the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), which he founded in 2018.
On the other hand, PML-N’s key ally in Balochistan, Akhtar Mengal who heads the Balochistan National Party, in a letter to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, expressed dismay over the appointment of Mr Kakar without consultations with allies.
In a statement posted on his ‘X’ handle (formerly known as Twitter), Mr Kakar said: “Owing to the fundamental responsibility conferred upon me as the caretaker prime minister, I have decided to surrender my membership of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and relinquish my Senate position.”
According to Geo News, Mr Kakar stepped down from his post because he wants to be an impartial interim premier. The media outlet quoted him as saying that since it was his responsibility to hold free and fair elections, for which he has to cooperate with the Election Commission, he had decided to resign.
Earlier, a statement issued by outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed confidence that Mr Kakar would ensure fair elections. The statement issued by the PM’s Office said the “trust reposed by all parties in Kakar’s name proves their proper choice as the upcoming caretaker PM is an educated person and a patriot”.
According to PM Shehbaz, the name of Anwarul Haq Kakar was decided upon under a constitutional process as he was the “most suitable person” to head the interim set-up.
In his letter to the PML-N supreme leader, Akhtar Mengal expressed serious reservations over the appointment of Mr Kakar as the caretaker PM and said the decision “further widened the distance between” the BNP-M and PML-N.
“Nomination of a man as caretaker prime minister has not only closed the doors of politics for us but such kind of decisions further widened distances between BNP and PML-N,” he said, expressing displeasure over the appointment of a politician from his rival party as the caretaker premier.
Mr Mengal lamented the actions of politicians to approach the establishment for the solution of every problem instead of resolving issues politically. He cited a letter written to Mr Sharif on July 22, hoping the “issues would reduce by now, but instead they increased”.
“Mian Sahib, what has befallen us might be our fate, but what’s surprising is that you people, after facing hardships, haven’t learned any lessons. We remember the atrocities from General Ayub to General Musharraf. But your party forgets the conspiracies and unconstitutional actions of Musharraf and [ex-COAS] Bajwa too quickly.”
He said: “Once again, you’re weakening democratic institutions by legislating in the dark without involving allies, thereby strengthening undemocratic powers.”
Akhtar Mengal, who also served as the Balochistan chief minister, said: “Legislation contrary to human rights will probably be used against you in the future, [we know] because we, the residents of Balochistan, have not been considered as human beings since day one.”
He said taking decisions without the confidence of allies will only perpetuate the mistrust between larger and small provinces. The letter further said, “Laws are made and broken to protect their interests and pave the way for their future government, but on the contrary, it is against the law for the people of Balochistan to cry for their loved ones.”
He said the BNP-M thought this time maybe after those bitter experiences the PML-N “would have realised [its mistakes] now but it has failed us again like before”
He expressed that he wished the “true history of the past 76 years” was available in the textbooks of Pakistan studies so “maybe we would have learned from history but now we and you are answerable to history and will remain to do so”.
Towards the end of the letter, Akhtar Mengal made it clear that Mr Kakar’s nomination as the interim prime minister not only put an end to his politics but Mr Sharif’s decisions also “created more distance between the two”.
Zaki Abbas in Islamabad also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2023