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6 months into the govt, Jam Kamal is barely hanging on to Balochistan CMship

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Balochistan’s politics has always been more complex and unstable compared to other provinces of the country. Personality and tribal politics are at the center of political parties here. Successive governments of Balochistan have faced instability in the past due to continuous backstabbing and blackmailing which affected the performance of those governments badly. Since the general Elections of 2018 it has only been five months and current chief minister of Balochistan is already facing challenge from his own party leaders who want him out of the office.

Not long ago, Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo became Chief Minister of Balochistan by toppling the coalition government of PML-N. Just after a few months of the formation of newly elected government ex-Chief Minister and current speaker of Balochistan Assembly Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo started showing his displeasure towards his own party president and CM Balochistan Jam Kamal.

According to the party sources his grievances are result of the removal of all of his appointed people during his regime by current chief executive and not accepting his proposal on giving party tickets to his close friend (ex-caretaker CM of Balochistan) for by-election on Senate’s vacated seat. Mir Bizenjo didn’t hold grievances and made quite a few meetings including with high profile people like ex-president Asif Ali Zardari and ex-CM Akhtar Mengal. Though it seems he was the only one meeting with those political giants but sources claim he had the backing of important party leaders Saeed Hashmi (founder of BAP) and Jan Jamali.

Many know meetings between Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Asif Ali Zardari resulted in toppling of PML-N’s government in Balochistan but this time these meetings could not produce similar results, mainly because Bizenjo didn’t have support of MPAs of BAP.

Later, Speaker Mir Bizenjo announced his decision of resigning as protest but Senate Chairman intervened and calmed the situation down. A meeting, also attended by Balochistan CM and Speaker Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, was held and promises made to improve relationship. Though Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo took back his announcement of resignation but grievances remain. In recent polling on senate’s vacated seat one vote was rejected and BAP sources claim it to be that of Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo.

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Balochistan Chief Minister who has earned quite a reputation in his short tenure so far is seemingly worried of the continuous problems within the party. Though he has always denied any news of internal conflict in the party, this time he came on the front foot and opposed Bizenjo publicly. In his recent statement, CM Jam Kamal taunted Mir Bizenjo for being elected with small number of votes in general election and said that some elements wanted to split the party by creating misunderstandings among the members ‘but they will never succeed’.

Soon after the General Elections of 2018 one of the closest alliance members of BAP and head of PTI Balochistan Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind started making anti-Jam Kamal comments after developing differences with BAP leader over distributions of ministries. Since then Sardar Rind has not been part of any government affair and even remained absent from senate by-poll twice as he would have had to vote for the BAP candidate.

In a recent media talk, Sardar Yar M Rind said that provincial government needed time to settle things down as its had been a complex tenure so far under the coalition government. He also believes Jam Kamal is facing challenges within his party. “Jam Kamal is like a friend and I have great respect for him. Our differences are not personal but only political and that is nothing extraordinary”, Sardar Yar M Rind said.

Senior journalist from Balochistan Shahnawaz Baloch believes reign of Jam Kamal was not under any great threat at the moment but the wedge in the party was quite obvious. Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, who has emerged as a political power in a short period, has serious grievances with Jam Kamal for many reasons but CM Jam Kamal is quite determined not to take any pressure in improving good governance.

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“An appointment (Special Assistant to CM) from political rivals of Speaker Bizenjo made by Jam Kamal was another cause behind the serious differences between the two leaders of BAP. Bizenjo also wanted to be consulted in the formation of government which never happened. Meanwhile, Mir Bizenjo has always enjoyed complete support of Jan Jamali who is an important figure in BAP”, says Shahnawaz Baloch.

He further said that current political crisis was an ideal opportunity for BNP-Mengal to dethrone CM Jam Kamal through backdoor but Akhtar Mengal is more worried about not upsetting Imran Khan.

“During the by-elections Sardar Akhtar Mengal remained proactive but reluctant to confront Jam Kamal. Sardar Mengal met Imran Khan seeking his support for senate by-election but was turned away even after Mengal’s continuous support to PTI in past 5 months”, He added.

Shahnawaz Baloch says that Jam Kamal still has the support of his coalition partners which has been proven in recent senate by-poll. Still Jam kamal is as weak as any chief minister was in the past. This won’t change until Federal government decides in his favour”, says Shahnawaz Baloch.

Balochistan’s political dynamics suggest that resilience within the party may not only remain but strengthen further in near future. Even though CM Jam Kamal has been in consultations with close party members, it seems he has not much of a choice except appeasing those who defy him. Otherwise, another toppled chief executive won’t be a surprise.

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