Alyani in trouble: For a change, challenge to him is from his own party, not from Opp

Tariq Butt
Sunday, Oct 10, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The threat to oust Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani has, for a change, come from within his own party and not from its allies or the opposition.

Generally, it is the opposition that in cahoots with estranged members of the ruling party endeavours to throw out the chief minister or the prime minister.

In Balochistan’s case, the opposition parties are watching the emerging situation from the sidelines and have refused to extend a helping hand to the beleaguered chief minister. Sometimes ago, their no-confidence motion turned out to be unproductive.

While calm prevails in all the other provincial legislatures and there is no talk or plan to vote out any chief minister, some disgruntled members of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) have caused a stir against Alyani. It was because of this commotion that the chief minister had to step down as its president, apparently on the rebels’ demand.

His coalition partners, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party, Balochistan National Party-Awami, Hazara Democratic Party and Jamhoori Watan Party, are ostensibly standing with him but they are in no position to keep him in office when a significant number of members of the BAP have revolted against him.

The main task before Alyani is to assuage the angry BAP lawmakers, who have so far refused to budge. They have threatened that he must stand down as the chief minister or be ready to face a no-confidence resolution. The ultimatum has passed, and the irate lawmakers are now firming up their strategy to move a no-trust motion against him.

The opposition comprises the Balochistan National Party, Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl or JUI-F) and the Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party. None of them is willing to support the chief minister during the crisis he is facing at the hands of his own party.

The BAP had come into existence suddenly after hijacking the entire parliamentary party of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the Balochistan Assembly on the eve of the Senate elections in 2018. Even the then Chief Minister, Sanaullah Zehri, could not withstand the pressure and caved in. Instead of facing the threatened no-confidence resolution, he handed in his resignation against the advice of the central PML-N leadership and quietly went abroad.

After its creation, BAP has moved ahead non-stop. It got a good number of senators in 2018. It considerably raised its tally in the Senate three years later in 2021. Besides, it got several of its candidates elected in the 2018 general elections to land in a position to form the provincial government.

Balochistan Assembly Speaker Abdul Qaddus Bizenjo, Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind and another well-connected figure are the leading aspirants to replace Alyani. Both Bizenjo and Rind have shown their disenchantment with the chief minister more than once.

It seems a difficult task for Alyani to survive. He is looking for federal intervention to rescue him from his troubles. Until now, the federal political authorities have not intervened to break the logjam. However, the chief minister is optimistic that he will tide over the rebellion and said there are only a dozen people who want him out of office. He has held meetings with some of them but failed to change their mind. Around 15 lawmakers have expressed their dissatisfaction over his style of governance and allocation of funds for development schemes.

There is no solid demand that has surfaced justifying the turmoil against the chief minister. Apparently, it is a power tussle. The discontented members want that since Alyani has been in office for three years now, he should give way to others to hold this office for ‘the betterment of the province’.

Balochistan has experienced several terrorist attacks even after the evaporation of the anti-Pakistan Afghan spy agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS), and the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) from Afghan soil after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in mid-August. The province requires complete political and parliamentary peace so that the security agencies and provincial paraphernalia can fight against the terrorist threat with a single mind.