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pakistan
Tuesday Jan 09 2018
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CM Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri resigns ahead of no-confidence motion

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri resigned on Tuesday prior to a no-confidence motion being taken up against him in the provincial assembly.

The resignation tendered to Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai has been accepted. 

According to a notification by the government of Balochistan (Cabinet Section): “Consequent upon the resignation of the Chief Minister Balochistan, the provincial ministers and advisors to the chief minister Balochistan, shall also cease to hold their offices, with immediate effect." 

In a statement following his resignation, Zehri said that he did not wish to cause problems in the political setup of the province. He added that he was not in the habit of hanging onto power at any cost.

Sanaullah Zehri's resignation 

PML-N leader and strong contender for the CM slot, Jan Jamali spoke to Hamid Mir in Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’.

Jamali said that the dynamics of the PML-N in Balochistan is different than that of in other parts of Pakistan.

While responding to a question about the next possible CM of the province and role of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in it, Jamali said ‘we will take the decision ourselves.

“My ancestors were in the Muslim League, way before Nawaz Sharif was,” he said. 

Zehri’s decision came after he was advised by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to resign in light of the no-confidence motion. According to sources, Abbasi advised the chief minister to resign to control the political situation in the province following his visit to Quetta.

The prime minister has also taken notice of the role of provincial lawmakers for letting the situation come to its present stage.

In wake of Zehri’s resignation, chances are that the next chief minister will also be from the ruling PML-N, with most likely candidates being Saleh Bhutani or Jan Muhammad Jamali.

The prime minister had travelled to Quetta on Monday as a no-confidence motion against Zehri gained momentum and was said to have the support of majority lawmakers of the assembly, leading to fears of the chief minister’s removal from office.

Speaking to Geo News prior to the resignation, Balochistan Opposition Leader Maulana Wasay said it would be better if the chief minister accedes to the prime minister’s advice.

No-confidence motion

A no-confidence motion was submitted against Zehri on January 2 by MPAs Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Syed Agha Raza and had the signatures of 14 lawmakers.

In order to retain his position as chief minister, Zehri required the support of 33 members from a house of 65.

A political crisis developed in Balochistan following the no-confidence motion, with efforts stepped up by the PML-N, which has a government both in the centre and province, to defuse the situation.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday afternoon, Wasay said they had the support of 41 provincial lawmakers. A day earlier, PML-Q lawmaker Abdul Quddus Bizenjo had also claimed of having the support of 40 legislators against Zehri.

According to reports, ten disgruntled MPAs from the PML-N were also supposed to vote for the no-confidence motion.

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