Meet Sarfraz Bugti — Balochistan's new chief minister

Web Desk
Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti. — AFP/File
Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti. — AFP/File

Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Sarfaraz Bugti has become the chief minister of Balochistan for the first time and faces hydra-headed challenges as the province is badly affected by terrorism and is least developed.

An ambitious man, Bugti was born in 1981 to Mir Ghulam Qadir Masori Bugti, a tribal elder. His father, too, had an instinct for discerning the direction in which the political winds were blowing. This is why, after being a member of General Zia’s Majlis-e-Shoora, he joined PPP – two completely opposing forces.

Ghulam then stuck it out with the PPP, even during General Musharraf’s dictatorship, and as a result, he faced external pressures. Nevertheless, the family remained committed to the PPP, with Ghulam persisting in his efforts under its banner until his demise.

His son, Bugti, seems to flow just as well with the current. After completing his education at Lawrence College in Murree, he entered politics in 2013.

In that year’s general election, he contested a provincial seat as an independent candidate but later joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). A few months later, he was rewarded for this decision when he was made the interior minister.

Bugti is proud of the work he did in this ministerial role. He actively promoted efforts to establish peace and order in the province. Under his leadership, the Levies Force received several modern upgrades.

The job of establishing order in a province suffering from chronic violence was not an easy one. Bugti faced 17 attacks, and endured losses of friends and family members in the process.

In the 2018 general elections, Bugti couldn't secure electoral victory but managed to win a Senate seat and emerged as a strong voice in the upper house of the parliament. In 2021, he won the Senate seat for the second time.

The right quarters were paying attention to his successes and in 2023, Bugti was offered the role of caretaker federal interior minister. In this capacity, he actively advocated for projecting a positive image of Pakistan on the global stage.

Not long after the date of the 2024 elections was announced, Bugti resigned from his role as caretaker minister and announced his decision to contest the upcoming polls as a member of the Balochistan Assembly — this time under the banner of the PPP.

But even with the backing of the PPP, which has its influence in the Centre, Sindh, and Punjab, Bugti needs to ensure that peace comes back to Pakistan’s largest province geographically and the feeling among its people of being overlooked ends once and for all as they have been demanding it for too long now.