Jam Kamal steps down as Balochistan CM before no-confidence motion

Shahid Aslam Special Correspondent - Lahore

25th Oct, 2021. 11:02 am

A day before the Balochistan assembly was to convene voting for a no-confidence motion against Jam Kamal, he resigned on Sunday as the chief minister, insisting that “he would rather leave respectfully” instead of being a “part of a monetary agenda and bad governance formulation.”

With the exit of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader, the months-long political crisis in Balochistan comes to an end while the provincial cabinet stands dissolved.

“Jam Kamal Khan has submitted his resignation to Governor Balochistan Syed Zahoor Ahmad Agha,” which had been accepted,  Paind Khan Kharoti a spokesperson for the governor confirmed in a statement. Balochistan Chief Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana also confirmed that Kamal’s resignation had been accepted in a notification.

Earlier in a tweet, Kamal said that he had given his “utmost time and energy” for Balochistan’s governance and development despite “many deliberate political hindrances”.

“I would rather leave respectfully and not be part of their monetary agenda and bad governance formulation,” he said, apparently referring to the disgruntled group comprising members of BAP and allies that had been demanding his resignation.

Talking to Bol News, Opposition Leader in Balochistan Assembly Malik Sikander Khan termed Kamal’s resignation a success of the opposition parties and those who wanted better governance and development in the province. He said that “now a requisition will be submitted to the governor for summoning a new session of the assembly for choosing a new leader of the House.”

“The new chief executive of the province would come from BAP, and Speaker Balochistan Assembly Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo is leading the race at the moment,” Khan added.

“As of now, Bizenjo is leading the race, but you never know what will happen in politics at the 11th hour. We, the opposition, will sit again to decide our future course of action.”

“We have not chosen yet to whom we will vote for the leader of the house,” said the provincial opposition leader and added that the “new CM has to work hard to improve governance, economy and law and order in the province.”

Khan dispelled the impression that a ‘wave of change’ had started from Balochistan at the behest of “someone’s” backing. He termed the change as purely their internal matter that had nothing to do with national politics.

“A lot has happened in the past but this has been our own fight which we had been fighting for the last three years against Jamal Kamal.”

Months-long political crisis

The signs of a political crisis in Balochistan were first seen in June this year when some opposition members had camped outside the provincial assembly for days in protest against Kamal because he had refused to allocate development funds for their constituencies in the annual budget.

The protest later became mayhem, and the police had to book 17 opposition lawmakers in connection with the incident. Soon 16 members from the opposition benches filed a no-trust motion against the then CM. However, the Governor House Secretariat returned it to the provincial assembly on technical grounds.

Earlier in October, disgruntled members of BAP, and the opposition members had tabled a “no-confidence motion” against Kamal, signed by 14 lawmakers from the house of 65 members.

Following assembly rules, Speaker Balochistan Assembly Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo had fixed October 25 (Monday) for voting on the motion. However, Kamal succumbed to political pressure and resigned from his office on Sunday.

Other than Jam Mohammad Yousaf, Kamal’s late father, not a single chief executive of Balochistan could complete the allocated five-year tenure. 

In 1972, Sardar Ataullah Mengal’s government was dismissed by the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Then, Mir Taj Muhammad Jamali resigned from chief ministership in 1992. Similarly, in 1998, Sardar Akhtar Mengal also quit. Kamal’s father could complete his term – from 2002 till 2007 – during martial law.

PPP-appointee Nawab Aslam Khan Raisani had also left the CM office in 2013, just before the end of his term. Similarly, Abdul Malik Baloch remained CM from 2013 to 2015. His successor, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), stepped down in early 2018 after his party MPAs had filed a no-trust motion against him.

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