QUETTA, Dec 1: Jam Mir Mohammad Yousaf of Pakistan Muslim League (Q) was sworn in as the 17th elected Chief Minister of Balochistan, here on Sunday. And the first thing he did was to ban sale and use of liquor across the province.

Governor Balochistan, Amirul Mulk Mengal, administrated the oath to the newly-elected CM at a ceremony held at the Governor’s House in the afternoon.

Jam Yousaf would take a vote of confidence from the Balochistan Assembly on Monday.

Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was scheduled to attend the oath-taking ceremony, could not reach Quetta due to the death of a close relative.

Earlier, Jam Yousaf was elected Leader of the House in the Balochistan Assembly through a show of hands, in which he bagged 47 votes from a house of 65.

The members of Jamhoori Watan Party, who did not cast vote in the speaker’s and deputy speaker’s election, voted for the Leader of the House.

Mohammad Akbar Mengal, who contested for the CM’s office, secured only 12 votes. The two PPP members, Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani and Shafiq Ahmed Khan, who were present in the house, abstained.

A member of PML-Q, Mir Abdul Rehman Jamali, also could not cast his vote as he had to proceed to his village due to the death of a close relative.

Soon after being elected Leader of the House, Jam Yousaf made his maiden speech in the assembly in which he announced slapping a ban on the sale and use of liquor throughout the province.

“Liquor is prohibited in Islam and we must follow its injunction,” Jam Yousaf said.

The treasury benches hailed the announcement by the thumping of the desks. Ban on liquor was part of the agreement reached between PML-Q and MMA.

Jam Yousaf thanked the assembly members for reposing trust in him, and said he would give respect to both the members of the treasury and the opposition. He conceded that it was a democratic right of those members who chose not to vote for him.

Saying that unlike his predecessors he would not make tall claims, Jam Yousuf declared that he would serve the people and the province to the best of his abilities and would protect the just rights of Balochistan.

He said the people had “elected us with great expectations” and now “it was our responsibility to live up to them” and work hard for resolving the problems they were faced with in this backward province.

Jam Yousaf said Balochistan could not be developed by just paying lip-service to this cause, and that he would take all practical measures for bringing Balochistan at part with other provinces. This, he said, he could not accomplish unless all political groups and assembly members lent him their support.

He exhorted the parties to bury their differences in the larger interest of the province and hoped that whenever he took up the province’s issues with Islamabad, all would extend cooperation to him, irrespective of their party affiliation.

Members of the Balochistan Assembly, former provincial ministers, Corps Commander, Quetta, Lt-Gen Abdul Qadir, Commandant, Command and Staff College, Quetta, Maj-Gen Mohsin, political leaders and other prominent citizens attended the ceremony.

Earlier, speaking on the floor of the house, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, said that democracy could not flourish until supremacy of parliament and the Constitution was recognized.

He said all the steps taken by the military government and ordinances issued by Gen Musharraf were illegal.

Nawab Aslam Raisani, PPP’s parliamentary leader, said that without launching a joint struggle, Balochistan’s rights could not be achieved.

He said he and his party would extend full cooperation to the newly-elected CM “in the larger interest of the province.” He expressed the hope that Jam Yousaf would take notice of the Dadhar situation and take steps for maintaining law and order there.

Mir Shoaib Nusherwani, the youngest member of the assembly, called for forging cooperation among members for the development of Balochistan.

Others who also spoke were Jafar Khan Mandokhel, Syed Ehsan Shah, Shahfiq Ahmed Khan, Maulana Abdul Wasay, Sardar Sanaullah Zahri, Sardar Azam Musakhel, Mrs Robina Irfan, and Rahila Durrani.

Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal and Sardar Azam Musakhel, on a point of order, strongly reacted to the changing of election schedule for Leader of the House, and said it was uncalled for.

However, the speaker said it was changed as most members wanted to go back to their areas to celebrate Eid.



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