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Clash of Egos

Clash of Egos

Torrential rains and the government’s negligence compound the citizens’ misery in the province

The tussle between the two Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) stalwarts – Chief Minister Mir Quddus Bizenjo and senior minister for local Bodies Sardar Salah Bhootani – has been heating up this week and is sparked by the entry of an influential figure into the local politics and in the business affairs of the province’s industrial town, Hub.

Ali Hassan Zahri, the husband of Senator Sameena Mumtaz Zahri, has posed a serious threat to the Bhootani family in more ways than one. The Bhootani family, which is already at the loggerhead with Jam Kamal on the political front, now wants to get rid of Jam’s influence in the Hub area.

For this purpose Salah Bhootani, during the Bizenjo-led government, has successfully managed to make Hub a tahsil comprising his constituency a new district carving out of the Lasbela District.

Zahri, who for long was known in Balochistan as Asif Ali Zardari’s man, appeared on the political horizon of Balochistan a few years back by making his entry in the close circles of Nawab Sanaullah Zahri, the former chief minister.


He soon gained prominence due to his lavish spendings during the political activities, all the way up to the eve of change in Balochistan in 2017. At that time he was in the Sana Zahri camp, but later switched over to the Quddus Bizenjo camp.

A shrewd businessman, Ali Hassan, reportedly fled the Zardari camp back in 2013 and took shelter under Sana Zahri camp after developing serious differences with the PPP co-chairman. Switching loyalties, he became the financer of the PML-N activities and functions when Sana Zahri was the PML(N) provincial head besides, of course, being the Chief Minister of Balochistan.

Later, Zahri was instrumental in Ali’s patch up with Zardari. Ali Hassan who has his expertise in the real estate business, some legal, some illegal, has properties worth billions of rupees in Karachi as well as in Hub. Using his influence, he soon got his wife Sameena elected as member of the upper house on a reserved seat on the ticket of the ruling BAP from Balochistan.

Ali then managed to develop a cordial relation with Chief Minister Balochistan Quddus Bizenjo and started using his office for his business deals in Hub. Simultaneosly, Ali started using his clout in the political matters and stumped Bhootani by getting the latter’s favourite Deputy Commissioner Lasbela transferred and replaced by his man Murad Kasi.

However, Bhootani got the transfer orders cancelled, though, only temporarily. It was at this point that some animosity between Ali and Bhootani began to take root. Very recently, Bhootani refused to accompany Chief Minister Bizenjo during his visit to his constituency, Hub, after seeing his rival couple Senator Sameena and her husband Ali Hassan in the CM’s helicopter.

However, Bhootani’s son Shahzad accompanied the CM on his visit to the rain affected areas of Hub but there were no fireworks. Soon after the visit, CM Bizenjo awarded various development schemes to Ali Hassan for the fiscal year of 2022-23 in a bid to gain more votes from the Hub area.


In a latest development, Ali is said to have started heavy investment in real estate in partnership with some political figures of BAP and once again pushed for his man Murad Kasi getting appointed as the deputy commissioner.

Chief Minister Bizenjo in a meeting on Thursday, openly remarked in front of the media that the incumbent DC (Iftikhar Bugti) has to go at all cost. It was at this juncture that Shazad Bhootani turned to him and said “it can’t be done.”

The rivalry between Ali and Bhootani is really heating up with each passing day and is now beginning to affect the governance matters in the province.

The monsoon rains that commenced in June and are still lashing the province, have played havoc and have caused vast scale destruction throughout Balochistan, breaking the 30-year record. The death toll which reached 120 on Friday is likely to swell with thousands reporting injured in the current week.

“The situation is so alarming in the province that it has become a challenge for government and its institutions such as Pak Army, Navy and Frontier Corps Balochistan who are all assisting the civil administration in the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of more than 50,000 affected people in all the 34 districts that have been declared calamity hit areas”, Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili told a hurriedly called press conference on Friday.

However, a complete lake of coordination was witnessed among the Chief Secretary – who is the administrative head of the province – the district administration and the aligned departments on this critical juncture.


While the Chief Secretary have been briefing the media one thing, the commissioner and deputy commissioner are saying just the opposite. For instance the secretary claimed on Friday that Quetta-Karachi highway has been opened for light vehicular traffic, but Commissioner Kalat Division Daud Khilji rejected the claims and informed the media that the highway will not be opened for the next four days due to massive amount of damage caused by the rains.

Various portions of the highway linking Quetta with Karachi via Khuzdar have been washed away that caused the suspension of link between the two provinces. The portions which are situated in Lasbela district have been damaged repeatedly after repairing time and again. The flow of the flood water due to torrential rain has been hampering the repair work that caused complete suspension of vehicular traffic between Quetta and Karachi. Thousands of people move on the highway a day from both sides and now some of them use Quetta-Jacobabad highway as alternate route.

Although the whole Balochistan has been affected, Lasbela and Jhal Magsi districts are the worst hit areas where almost all areas were submerged. In Jhal Magsi, Nawabzada Tariq Magsi, the sitting MPA was seen at every spot, supervising the repair works and protective small dams. However the both elected representatives from Lasbela – Jam Kamal, the former Chief Minister, and Sardar Salah Bhootani – the senior Minister have remained missing from their constituencies. Jam Kamal is in London while Bhootani encamped in Islamabad seeking the intervention of Islamabad into the interference in his home constituency by Ali Zahri.

Chief Minister Quddus Bizenjo who was also in Islamabad for a week but didn’t pay any visit – either via land or by air – to view of the affected areas or to  follow up on the rescue/relief efforts by government departments. In his absence, the Chief Secretary who never served in Balochistan also confined himself to his office in Quetta and didn’t bother to visit the affected districts.

The affected people through social media are continuously sending posts asking for help and rescuing those who were trapped or marooned for days in flood water. The army and Navy helicopters carrying the food items and water bottles are engaged in reaching the Lasbela and Jhal Magsi affectes and providing them with the supplies. Army also provided boats to the civil administration and PDMA for rescuing the people and providing relief items to them.

The federal government has announced to provide one million rupees to each of the bereaved families as compensation while half a million for completely damaged houses and two hundred and fifty thousand for partially damaged house.


However, the callous negligence on part of the Balochistan CM and other top dignitaries has really irked hundreds of thousands of hapless citizens in the province.


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