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Sunday December 05, 2021

CM resignation

October 27, 2021

Though Balochistan has rarely been stable in terms of its provincial governments, the way it has experienced uncertainty in the past couple of weeks appeared rather outlandish. With Jam Kamal’s resignation all hopes of a chief minister completing his five-year term in Balochistan came to a naught. The only CM who achieved that feat was Jam Kamal’s father Jam Yusuf who was chief minister from 2002 to 2007 under the command of General Musharraf. The opposition in the Balochistan Assembly has behaved erratically with sporadic protests against the CM and threats to table a no-confidence move. Then some disgruntled provincial ministers resigned, putting even more pressure on the CM. Under such circumstances the resignation of Jam Kamal had become a foregone conclusion and there was nothing left for him to do apart from accepting the demand of the opposition to quit.

Jam Kamal’s party – the Balochistan Awami Party or BAP – is a hotchpotch of various political elements that had suddenly emerged before the general elections in 2018. How it survived for over three years is in itself a mystery, as right from the beginning it stood on shaky grounds. With Kamal’s resignation the crisis does not appear to subside, rather it may generate even more troubles in an already troublesome situation – given that in the past Balochistan has often been the province which first marks a rumbling or a shaking of political calm across Pakistan. It is unlikely that the BAP will survive for long as a political entity, mainly because the opposition is supporting the new candidate for the top provincial slot. The power-sharing formula that Quddus Bizenjo is negotiating with his supporters may be even more wobbly than the previous one. A look at the political history of Balochistan shows that there were only two governors who held their offices for six years each: General Musa Khan and General Rahimuddin. BAP’s creation too had at the time been extremely controversial. Since BAP’s members joined hands with the opposition, there has been an expected unravelling of the alliance that lacked legitimacy from the word go.

In over 50 years of Balochistan’s history as a province, leaders such as Abdul Malik, Akhtar Mengal, Attaullah Mengal, Ghause Bakhsh Bizenjo, and Hasil Bizenjo have mostly found themselves at the receiving end for their apparently pro-people outlook. The recent political events have diverted people’s attention from the earthquake areas of Balochistan where thousands of people were affected by tremors. Now there is a need to heal the wounds of the people affected by not only the recent earthquake but by militancy as well. The law-and-order situation needs immediate attention as hardly any day goes by without some violence. The province is in desperate need of development and stability. It also needs the perception of its people that it has been unfairly treated by the centre to be squarely addressed so that in the future there can be an element of calm in the province and a greater bond with the centre and with other provinces. The new setup must focus on the resolution of people’s problems rather than on political wrangling.