Blackmailing by party MPAs, coalition partners compel the CM to look at the opposition for support
The Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) is yet again at the crossroad. The cracks within the coalition have become too obvious, primarily due to infighting and the day-to-day blackmailing of party MPAs and the coalition partners.
Chairman Senate Sadiq Sunjrani, ensuing the danger, has started making efforts to persuade the opposition parties to join the coalition government to avoid any serious mishap.
Despite keeping everything – the public funds, posting/transfer of government employees as well as recruitment powers – at the disposal of coalition partners and the MPAs of the opposition parties, things are not going well due to clash of interests among ministers and MPAs.
Mir Qudoos Bezenjo, whose lethargic attitude has weakened the administration and led to poor governance in the province, is very lucky to be still in the saddle because he has somehow managed to keep all members happy by not hiding anything from them and keeping them in the loop throughout.
However, things have started going awry in the province as the CM is mostly missing in action wherever required and has virtually handed his powers to some of his assistants who are acting on their whims and fancy while dealing with important and sensitive matters.
CM Bezenjo’s special secretary Lal Jaffar, a junior officer with a tainted background, works as a principal officer in the absence of a principal secretary in the CM secretariat. He is now facing severe criticism for his antics, not only from the other coalition partners but from his own party Secretary General Senator Manzoor Kakar. “Bezenjo’s unusual sleeping habits cast a very negative affect on the performance of the government as well as on our party,”said Kakar in an interview to leading channel last month.
However, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sunjrani has persuaded Kakar to patch up. Sunjrani is of the view that to get rid of the day-to-day blackmailing from the members and partners, it would be more helpful if 20 members of the opposition parties (JUI-11 MPAs and BNP-09 MPAs) are included in ruling coalition.
Besides, he has advised the Chief Minister to also engage with his rival, ex-Chief Minister Jam Kamal. Following his advice in letter and spirit, CM Bezenjo had been making efforts to contact and meet Jam Kamal but the latter has been avoiding it, on one or the other pretext.
However, recently after consulting his group members, he allowed the Chief Minister to visit him at his Quetta residence. According to the insiders, during the meeting Jam Kamal expressed his anger over the creation of a new district out of his constituency Lasbela and demanded a withdrawal of the government decision in this regard.
But Qudoos has expressed his inability to act effectively, citing the presence of the coalition government. However, he has promised that he will de-notify the new district order.
In another related development, both Jam Kamal and Sardar Salah Bhootani who belong to the same area of the province are at loggerheads with each other over local politics. Despite having separate provincial assembly seats, the Jams have been holding sway in the area because of their importance in provincial politics.
Bhootanis have always been a close ally of Jams but Aslam Bhootani, the sitting MNA who defeated Jam Kamal as well as Sardar Akhtar Mengal, has altered the trend and never lets any opportunity about speaking against Jam Kamal go.
Though the CM has started working on the withdrawal of Hub district decision, the Bhootanis don’t like it and have now sought Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s support. Mengal, who indeed has much influence over Bezenjo after playing an effective role along with JUI in ousting Jam Kamal early this year, has now stopped Bezenjo from doing so.
Not only that, Mengal has also expressed his displeasure over the Chief Minister’s meeting with Jam Kamal and has warned Bezenjo that he will withdraw his support if the CM meets Jam Kamal in future. A worried Bezenjo has now approached his mentor Chairman Senate and has asked him to accompany him to Mengal and help him make his position clear.
Responding to Bezenjo’s plea, Sunjrani recently hosted a dinner in Mengal’s honour in Islamabad and also invited the CM there who duly offered his apology to Mengal for his move and assured him that he will not make such a mistake in future.
Chairman Senate requested Mengal to also join the ruling coalition, but the latter refused by saying his party is already facing public fury for supporting Qudoos against Jam Kamal.
Later, in a smart move Sadiq Sunjrani approached JUI’s provincial head and federal Minister Maulana Wasey to persuade Mengal for joining the government. Maulana Wasey spoke to his party head Maulana Fazalur Rahman in this regard who paid a courtesy call at Mengal’s residence in Islamabad last week. In the meeting, Maulana told Mengal that since both JUI and BNP contested elections in alliance and decided to sit on treasury and opposition benches together, they should join the Bezenjo government in order to take the control of the things for bringing betterment in the provincial governance.
The BNP sources later confirmed that Mengal has agreed to join the provincial government along with JUI but has made it conditional with the party’s central executive meeting ASAP.
It has become an open secret that the MPAs of both BNP and JUI have been longing to join the Balochistan government in order to have vast powers over public funds, recruitments and posting/transfer of the government employees besides getting other perks and privileges.
In the meanwhile, an important member of Jam Kamal group told this ascribe that a JUI delegation comprising sitting MPAs visited him and had a long discussion over the current political situation of the province. During the meeting they also indicated that if Chief Minister Qudoos Bezenjo doesn’t accept their demands for joining the government, they would opt for tabling a no-trust motion against him.
The JUI members told the BAP member to convey the message to Jam Kamal on behalf of Maulana Wasey, the party provincial head.
It may also be mentioned here that while the JUI has already given its consent to Chairman Senate and Chief Minister for joining the ruling coalition in Balochistan, they have demanded at least five ministries besides having PTI expelled from the government set-up.
However, the CM has told the the JUI members to bring flexibility in their demands and has made it clear that he has to accommodate other coalition partners as well. But to his dismay, the JUI has refused to budge an inch in this regard.
Seeing the stubborn attitude of JUI, the Chairman Senate has started making efforts to bring BNP in the coalition fold to put pressure on JUI.
But things are not that conducive for Chairman Senate Sadiq Sunjrani too. He has already planned to contest the elections on provincial seat for becoming Chief Minister Balochistan and his family members are also facing allegations of corruption from political rivals.
Both Arif Jan Mohammad Hasani, a BAP member, and former minister Amanullah Notezai in a campaign levelled serious allegations against Sunjrani and appealed to the federal government to conduct investigation into these charges.
The latest reports Reports from Islamabad indicate that the PDM has now decided in principle to move a no confidence motion against Sadiq Sunjrani. If that happens, it will be a severe blow for CM Bezenjo in the province and will boost his detractors in Balochistan.
Jam Kamal and his group members look happy on this recent development taking place in the province. They feel that if CM Bezenjo bring in 20 members of JUI and BNP into the government fold, a majority of the ruling BAP members and its allies would likely turn against him. On the other hand, if he doesn’t oblige the JUI and BNP, they are bound to get annoyed and will withdraw their support for the CM.