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Monday May 03 2021

Why was the Balochistan governor asked to resign?

Retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai file photo.

For the last two years, the local chapter of the center-ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had one main demand: change the governor in Balochistan.

The PTI politicians in the province wanted their man at the very top, to implement their political party’s program.

Thus, last week, retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, who was considered neutral and unbiased, was told to step down. Yasinzai was appointed governor in October 2018 by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Now that the former judge has been sent packing, PTI leaders in Balochistan, who asked not to be named, say that Zahoor Agha is a strong contender for the post.

The insistence of the local PTI chapter to get their own governor came soon after the Senate elections debacle.

Read more: Balochistan govt allies, several BAP members demand Jam Kamal's replacement: sources

Before the March Senate polls, PTI had awarded the ticket to a wealthy businessman Abdul Qadir, who was not even a member of PTI. But after a huge backlash, it withdrew the ticket and handed it over to Zahoor Agha.

But in an interesting turn of events, Agha also pulled out from the race in favor of the Balochistan Awami Party, which is in coalition with the ruling party in the province.

Qadir then contested independently, won, and joined the PTI.

Insiders say that the local PTI leadership was upset about the party’s decision to give the Senate ticket to someone, not from the party, who emerged victorious.

Now they demand that if the PTI is to do better in the next polls, slated for 2023, it needs a PTI leader as governor to deliver on some of the promises the party made to the province in 2018.