Balochistan Assembly to elect new CM today

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From Kaleem Kakar

QUETTA:  Candidates willing to acquire the position of Balochistan chief minister after a dissident group overthrew the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in the province started obtaining their nomination papers yesterday.

Nawab Sanaullah Zehri on January 9 resigned from his position ahead of a provincial assembly session that was called for voting on a no-confidence motion against him.

Former chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch escorted Zehri to the Governor’s House where he formally submitted his resignation to Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai. The governor, the constitutional head of the province, instantly accepted the resignation and issued an official notification to this effect.

According to details, the candidates today started obtaining their nomination papers from the office of the secretary Balochistan assembly at 9am. They will be able to submit their papers before 5pm the same day. Previously, however, the deadline was until 3pm which was extended later through a notification due to the yesterday prayers.

Following a scrutiny of the nomination papers, a comprehensive list will be released later.

The Balochistan Assembly secretariat said that during a provincial assembly session scheduled to happen at 10am on Saturday, Balochistan Chief Minister will be elected.

The dissident group on Thursday nominated Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, former deputy speaker of the provincial assembly and a member of the PML-Quaid (PML-Q), as a consensus candidate for the office of the provincial chief minister. Bizenjo yesterday also submitted his nomination papers.

Nawaz Sharif loyalists also held a separate meeting at the residence of Sardar Dur Mohammad Nasir on Thursday and decided to float a joint candidate for the post after consulting with their coalition partners – the Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and National Party (NP). The nomination papers of two candidates, Liaquat Agha and Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, on behalf of the PkMAP, were submitted.

On nominating Sardar Muhammad Nasir as leader of the house by the PML-N, there were reports of a rift between the coalition parties following which, the National Party (NP) parted ways from the alliance.

“As per the customs of the assembly, chief minister should be a Baloch,” said Balochistan’s National Party. Sarfraz Bugti of the PML-N, who was earlier one of the candidates, on Thursday, decided not to contest for the chief minister’s post.

Zehri, through his resignation, spared Balochistan from a deep political crisis as Bizenjo, lawmaker, withdrew his no-confidence motion. Issuing a statement after his resignation, he said he never wanted to impose his will on others and desired that the democratic and political process should continue.

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