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Sunday Nov 01 2020

Zehri, Baloch likely to leave PML-N after PDM rally snub

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Balochistan chapter President Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch (L) and former Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri (R) are likely to separate their ways from PMLN. Photo:

PML-N Balochistan chapter president retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch and former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri are likely to part ways with PML-N over differences related to Zehri’s role in the party and refusal of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s secretary-general Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to invite Zehri to the PDM’s public gathering last week in Quetta.

Abbasi refused to extend an invitation to Zehri to attend the public rally, citing the unexplained absence by Zehri from PML-N politics since January 2018 when he resigned as Balochistan chief minister against the wishes of the party leadership.

It is understood that BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal was also against the invitation being extended to Zehri. He told the PDM leadership categorically that Zehri should not be invited to a public meeting in which he had not played any role in mobilising the masses.

Sources close to Lt Gen Baloch and Zehri confirmed that the issue started due to the very fact that the former Balochistan chief minister was not invited to attend the rally.

“Shahid Khaqan Abbasi refused to invite the former Balochistan chief minister even after several influential people in the PML-N asked him to invite Zehri,” shared the insiders.

When Maryam Nawaz arrived in Quetta to attend the PDM rally last Saturday, Zehri picked her up from the airport. At the Serena Hotel, she was seen meeting Lt Gen Baloch and Zehri.

It is understood that efforts made for Zehri's rehabilitation into the PML-N didn’t pan out as Maryam told Zehri that the final decision will be made by the PML-N leadership.

Read more: Fissures emerge in PML-N's Balochistan chapter over PDM rally in Quetta

The core leadership of the PML-N refused to side with Zehri who is accused by the party's leadership of first resigning under pressure as chief minister Balochistan in January 2019 and then disappearing from the party for over two years without any trace.

Lt Gen Baloch protested to the party leadership that it was unfair not to invite Zehri to the PDM gathering. He told the party leadership that Zehri was being treated unfairly but the core leadership responded by saying that Zehri has no right to become a party to the PDM rally when he has been completely inactive ever since resigning from his position as chief minister — against the wishes of the party leadership.

Zehri's allies have said that he has mostly been away from the country and therefore couldn’t give time to the party.

The PML-N leadership also told Lt Gen Baloch that Zehri resigned as Balochistan chief minister after "coming under pressure" although he was instructed by the party not to resign and he had promised to the party leadership that he will not resign.

Meanwhile, the provincial leadership of PML-N has convened a meeting of the provincial body of the party on November 7 to decide the future course of action, as they have already expressed their reservations over the party’s narrative on sensitive issues .

Sen Rashid says exit due to no invitation not democracy

Later in the day, PML-N's Senator Pervaiz Rashid rubbished Baloch's claims (reported by media a day earlier) that he is leaving the party due to his desire to uphold democratic values, saying that the real reason is that he wasn't offered an invitation to the jalsa or a role within the party.

"If he was leaving because he disagrees with the party's narrative, then he never would have agreed with it during our meetings and would have expressed his reservations," he wrote in a Twitter post.

Responding to Senator Rashid's post, Baloch said: "I have held the position of a general due to my competence, unlike you who has gotten by only with false flattery, spying and sycophancy."

"Right now, PML-N's narrative is India's narrative, which every Pakistani with a love for their country will oppose," he wrote.