ISLAMABAD: PPP, on Sunday, firmly claimed that it was in a position to form its government in Balochistan as PML-N has assured its full support to the party in the province.

“Some nationalist parties were raising hue and cry over their defeat in the polls, but despite all odds, the PPP will form government in Baloch­istan,” PPP leader Sarfaraz Bugti said in a press conference.

“Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has given us a clear message that it will be our ally in Balochistan,” he added.

According to the results announced so far, PML-N and JUI-F have bagged 11 provincial assembly seats, followed by PPP’s 10 seats, Balochistan Awami Party’s (BAP) four, and six seats won by independents.

Mr Bugti said the PPP would soon finalise the process of government formation in Balochistan.

He, however, said the PPP had yet to decide a candidate for the chief minister’s slot.

Despite reservations, the PPP had accepted election results “in the largest interest of the country”, he said, adding that many PPP candidates also faced “unexpected defeat” in different constituencies.

In Balochistan, many nationalist parties — including the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Pashtu­nkhwa Milli Awami Party, National Party and Hazara Democratic Party — have been staging protests since the last seven days against what they have called massive rigging in general polls.

Speaking at the press conference, another PPP leader, Sardar Sarbuland Khan said the people of Balochistan had given the mandate to PPP, and the party would soon form its government in Balochistan.

He claimed that BNP-M President Akhtar Mengal lost the election due to his own mistakes. “He [Mengal] did massive corruption duing his rule in Balochistan. Both Akhtar Mengal and Dr Abdul Malik Baloch should first see their own deeds and then criticise others,” he added.

PPP leader Zahoor Buledi said people had rejected nationalist parties in Balochistan because of their negative attitude. “We will not let anyone reject people’s mandate given to the PPP and the party will definitely form its government in Balochistan,” he added.

Later, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and party leader Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting on Balochistan at Zardari House.

The meeting was attended by PPP leaders and its allies. Interestingly, Mr Bugti and BAP leader Sadiq Sanjrani did not attend the meeting.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2024

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