The farce in Balochistan


It’s all on PPP

The farce that was staged in Balochistan Assembly on Tuesday amounted to trivialisation of the democratic system. It could be easily predicted that despite his abysmal failure to perform CM Raisani would get a confidence vote on account of the system he had engineered in negation of the spirit of democracy. It would be difficult to find another assembly in the world where practically every legislator has been made a minister. In the absence of an opposition that could keep the government on toes, its tenure has been marked by irresponsiveness to the needs of the people. The unprecedented amount of funds made available under the 7th NFC Award could have been employed for social development, particularly in health and education sectors, thus creating thousands of new jobs for the youth in the province.

The budget for 2012-13, however, envisaged a decline of around Rs 10 billion in development funds compared to the revised estimates of 2011-12. As a result, in Balochistan, the development expenditure constituted only 25 percent of total expenditures while in Sindh, KP and Punjab, it was 42.3 percent, 33.7 percent and 31.9 percent respectively. Those who benefitted from the extraordinary award were only the provincial ministers as funds put at their disposal were more than doubled. This was widely seen as bribes to ensure their loyalty to the CM. Cabinet members have been accused by colleagues of indulging in heinous crimes like kidnapping for ransom. The CM, however, has provided protection to the accused. It doesn’t matter to the MPA-cum-ministers if killings and kidnappings continue or alienation spreads among the Baloch and the minority Hazaras, as long as their perks, privileges and an unchecked spending of funds are protected.

While a vote of confidence in the CM has thus been manoeuvred, the issue remains far from being settled. The working of the government under Raisani has already caused divisions in the PPP. The provincial chapter of the party has cancelled his basic membership. The Balochistan provincial council has termed the assembly session unlawful and called on the PPP central leadership to take action against the CM.

The PPP has to realise that the way the administration is working in Balochistan provides ground to forces opposed to democracy to malign the system. The federal government, therefore, needs to intervene to set things right in the province by making use of the remedies available under the constitution. Instead of waiting for the SC full verdict on the working of the Balochistan government, the federal government should itself resolve the situation.