QUETTA: The question of who will be Balochistan’s caretaker chief minister may have to be settled by a parliamentary committee after outgoing Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo and Opposition Leader Malik Sikander Khan Advocate failed to reach a consensus.

A decision had to be made within three days of the provincial assembly’s dissolution under the law and Tuesday was the last day to finalise a name, since Balochistan Governor Malik Abdul Wali Kakar signed the summary for the assembly’s dissolution on Aug 12.

Earlier in the day, the two discussed the names of proposed candidates to reach a consensus for the slot of interim chief minister.

Both sides did not disclose the names of candidates discussed in the late Monday night meeting.

However, sources said that while the name of Ali Mardan Domki had been discussed between the two leaders, CM Bizenjo did not agree to sign a summary suggesting Mr Domki as his successor.

Earlier, a source said the name of the consensus candidate may prove surprising for everyone, as with the selection of caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar a few days ago.

Billionaire tribal elder Malik Shah and Prince Ahmed Ali from the Khan of Kalat’s family were also named as potential candidates for the interim slot, but media reports seemed to suggest that Mr Domki had emerged as the strongest candidate thus far.

Mr Domki is a former district nazim from Sibi, who contested the 2013 general elections from PB-7 against his brother, Sardar Sarfaraz Domki.

On Tuesday, Mr Domki and former Balochistan CM Jam Kamal Alyani also called on caretaker PM Kakar in Islamabad.

According to the Constitution, if the chief minister and the opposition leader fail to reach a consensus on a suitable name for interim chief minister within the prescribed period, the matter would be sent to the parliamentary committee.

The chief minister and the opposition leader would send the names of three candidates each to the parliamentary committee.

If the committee could also not reach a consensus, the matter would then go to the Election Commission of Pakistan, which would then take a final decision on the matter.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2023

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