Thursday Oct 21 2021

No-confidence motion in Balochistan: More of the past

Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan Alyani. — Twitter/File
Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan Alyani. — Twitter/File

A no-confidence motion tabled in the Balochistan Assembly is nothing new in the province.

Just as no prime minister has completed his/her five-year-term in the history of Pakistan, only one chief minister of Balochistan, Jam Muhammad Yousuf Khan, the father of the incumbent chief minister, has stayed in office for his full tenure, since 1970 when Balochistan was given the status of a province.

In 1972, Sardar Ataullah Mengal’s government was dismissed by the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Then, Mir Taj Muhammad Jamali resigned from chief ministership in 1992.

In 1998, Sardar Akhtar Mengal also reluctantly handed in his resignation.

Finally, the unfortunate tradition was broken by Jam Muhammad Yousuf Khan, who remained chief minister from his entire term — 2002 to 2007.

But Khan was the exception not the rule.

The provincial power corridors were back to old habits when Nawab Aslam Khan Raisani left in 2013, before the end of his term. Abdul Malik Baloch lasted from 2013 to 2015. And in early 2018, Baloch’s successor, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, stepped down too after his own party MPAs filed a no-trust motion against him.

Now Jam Kamal Khan, the current chief minister of Pakistan’s most undeveloped province, is facing off against angry members of his own political party.

A no-confidence motion has been tabled against him and will be put up for vote on Monday. Twelve MPAs from the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) want him removed.

But here is where things break from the past.

Unlike previous chief ministers, Khan refuses to go quietly. He has reiterated his stance that he will not step down on the call of just 12 legislators from his party.

He also said that if the no-confidence motion is passed against him, he would rather sit on Opposition benches instead of becoming part of the new government.

Numerically, Jam Kamal Khan enjoys the support of 24 members of the assembly, or so he claims. Meanwhile, his opponents have the support of 36 members.

So can Khan save his position?

If the past is any indication, Khan might have to start packing his bags.