LAHORE/ QUETTA: As the political crisis in Balochistan deepens, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri on Sunday reached out to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in an effort to defeat a no-confidence motion against him in the provincial assembly.
The province was engulfed by uncertainty after some treasury members filed the no-confidence motion against the chief minister with the backing of a few former cabinet members including Sarfraz Bugti and Sarfaraz Domki.
Zehri called Sharif and informed him about the situation in the wake of the no-confidence motion.
The former prime minister assured the chief minister of his full support in overcoming the crisis.
According to well-placed sources, Zehri informed Sharif that the no-confidence motion was a well-thought-out plan to undermine the PML-N government in Balochistan, particularly at a time when Senate elections are scheduled for March.
The chief minister requested the PML-N president to use his influence to resolve the crisis and foil the conspiracy that he said was hatched to weaken the party, the sources said.
Senator Pervaiz Rashid said the chief minister was confident the crisis would be resolved at the earliest.
The former information minister said Sharif had asked senior party officials and allied parties to play their role in defeating the no-confidence motion.
“This is a well-coordinated effort to damage the democratic process,” Rashid said.
The senator asked, “Can those who have problems with the present government not wait for six more months?”
This clearly shows that the motive behind the motion is something else – to sabotage the democratic process, he added.
“The crisis in Balochistan has a direct bearing on the upcoming Senate elections,” he said, adding “This will adversely impact the country’s internal situation.”
According to media reports, so far 27 MPAs have expressed support for the move against Zehri, six short of the 33 required to guarantee success.
The sudden switching of sides sparked a series of resignations and sackings that the PML-N and its allies blamed on ‘hidden hands’ that they claimed did not want the democratic process to work in the country.
The latest departure came from Sheikh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, who resigned on Sunday.
This was disclosed by another PML-Q Leader, Saeedul Hassan Mandokhel, a close relative of Sheikh Jaffar. He said Jaffar, who was minister for revenue and transport in Zehri’s government, had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and added he would be returning on January 10 — a day after the provincial assembly takes up the no-confidence motion.
With his resignation, the number of ministers and advisers who have resigned from the provincial cabinet has risen to six.
However, circles closed to the chief minister were confident the motion would be defeated on the floor of the assembly as the chief minister was enjoying the support of 47 members in the 65-member house.
The Balochistan Assembly secretariat had notified the members about the no-confidence. According to some officials, the speaker has summoned an assembly session on Jan 9.
Meanwhile, the chief minister remained busy galvanising support for his beleaguered government and continued to hold consultations with the top political leadership in the province.
The chief minister, exuding confidence that he would survive the no-trust motion, declared that he was enjoying himself.
In this regard, the chief minister met Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir and discussed the strategy to defeat the motion.
In addition, he also met Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Mahmood Khan Achakzai, and Mir Kamal Khan, the son of late Jam Muhammad Yousuf and the Jam of Lasbela, to discuss the prevailing situation in the province.
Later, the defence minister told the media that he had not come to Balochistan to rescue the chief minister but to save the entire political and democratic system in this province.
“The level of political ethics have deteriorated in recent years and so has the leadership,” the minister said while talking to the media at the residence of PML-N Senior Vice-President Senator Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir.
However, he expressed his hoped that the democratic system would continue in the country.
Meanwhile, an official announcement from the Balochistan Assembly Secretariat has said that all passes issued to the guests of ministers and advisers had been cancelled for security reasons.
There will be a limited number of journalists covering the session. Normally, official media, representatives from Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television and Associated Press of Pakistan, the official news agency of the country were allowed in the past.
Also, Leader of the Opposition in the Balochistan Assembly Maulana Abdul Wasay of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam reiterated his party’s stand to support the no-confidence motion against the chief minister.
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