Trouble in Balochistan

  • Headwinds for PML-N

Chatter of differences in the Balochistan cabinet – brewing for a long time, which escalated sharply just before the budget – proved true after all as the no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri could snowball into yet another crisis for PML-N and its allies. For the moment PkMAP’s chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai and National Party head Hasil Khan Bizenjo, with the most members in the coalition government, are standing by the CM. That takes the sting out of the motion when it comes to the numbers game. However even if, as it seems, Zehri is able to avoid the axe, the situation will remain fluid; especially with elections around the corner and the ruling party besieged by troubles from all sides.

The problem, apparently, sprang from a disagreement that has come to typify our particular brand of democracy. The ruling coalition, it is alleged, routed development funds only within its own core constituencies, and took important political decisions often without consulting the opposition. Things did, seemingly, come to a head around budget time, but the opposition decided to give the government a little more time.

Since political uncertainty instantly leads to speculation and conspiracy in this Islamic Republic, it is not surprising that certain observers are already speaking of a new alliance to hold Balochistan till a caretaker setup can pave the way for elections. With news of sackings and resignations coming from the Balochistan government, this political paralysis could hardly have come at a worse time for the province. Already struggling with resurgence in terrorist attacks just when it was crucial to keep the peace — so CPEC could take off properly — a political slugfest over development funds and high-level appointments will only add to everyone’s problems. Those in charge have, so far, not been entirely successful in bringing normalcy to Balochistan. They should, however, do everything possible to bring some sanity to its government, at least.