QUETTA – Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, after getting annoyed over criticisim of law and order situation in the provincial assembly, said he was ready to quit for the person who could improve the situation.

He made this offer during a debate on a resolution regarding the law and order situation in the Balochistan Assembly which demanded the federal government evolve a comprehensive strategy in collaboration with the provincial government to restore peace to the province and ensure assistance of the federal institutions to the provincial government.

The House also adopted an adjournment motion strongly protesting against the Standing Committee of Senate for Finance over seeking details of development projects in Balochistan for review and termed it against the provincial autonomy.

The session of the Balochistan Assembly started with Deputy Speaker Syed Matiullah Agha in the chair on Tuesday. Though the session was summoned to discuss the law and order situation in the province and adopt a resolution, but the interest of the lawmakers was evident from the fact that the session started 40 minutes late. When the session started, only 14 members were present in the House, against the required number of 17, to run its business. Senior parliamentarian Sheik Jafar Khan Mandokhel pointed out lack of quorum on which the chair suspended proceedings of the House for 15 minutes.

As the proceedings restarted, Provincial Minister Mir Shah Nawaz Marri moved a resolution, saying under Article 148 (8) of the Constitution, the federal government was bound to assist the provincial government in the improvement of law and order. He added in views of the current law and order situation in Balochistan, the federal and provincial institutions should have devised a strategy to restore peace to the province.

Sheik Jafar Khan Mandokhel observed that the law and order situation of Balochistan had deteriorated to the extent that he had to send his two sons outside the province for studies. “I had to send them to their educational institutions along with security guards and no one can get education under the shadow of kalashnikov,” he remarked.

He pointed out that traveling on Quetta-Karachi highway without security guards was not possible, adding maintaining law and order was the government’ responsibility.

The chief minister expressed his displeasures over the remarks of Jafar Khan Mandokhel and said, “I am ready to quit the seat for Sheikh Jafar Khan Mandokhel or anybody else if he could improve law and order within three months. I will leave the CM slot and go home.” He contended the law and order and kidnapping for ransom were not the issues of Balochistan only; they were the problems of the entire country and such incidents were happening throughout the country.

Provincial Irrigation Minister Sardar Aslam Bezinjo said the law and order situation of Balochistan started deteriorating in the regime of Pervez Musharraf as people went missing and their dead bodies were found decomposed. “The relatives of missing persons and those killed never held the Balochistan government responsible for it,” he added.

He asked the chief justice of Pakistan to note that the law and order situation of Balochistan deteriorated not because of the provincial government, but it happened owing to the policies of the federal government and foreign interference. He questioned if Saudi Arabia and Iran had any rift, they should not use the soil of Balochistan. “There is also interference of the United States and India in the province; we cannot blame Afghanistan,” he added.

Provincial Minister Engineer Zamrak Khan Achakzai said the federal government’s policies and foreign interference had brought the law and order situation of Balochistan to this stage. “Had thoughts of our leaders, including Bacha Khan, Wali Khan, Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo, Mufti Mehmod and Sardar Attaullah Mengal been adopted, there would have been rule of law,” he remarked.

The House, through a resolution, demanded the federal government evolve a comprehensive strategy in collaboration with the provincial government to restore peace to the province and ensure assistance of the federal institutions to the provincial government. It also adopted a resolution, strongly protesting against the Standing Committee of Senate for Finance over seeking details of development projects in Balochistan for review from 2002 to 2012. The motion was moved by Balochistan National Party (Awami) leader Dr Fauzia Marri. The legislators termed the decision an open violation of the provincial autonomy guaranteed under the 18th Amendment.

The legislators, including Maulana Wasay, Ahsan Shah, Ainullah Shams, Nasreen Khaitran and Zamaruk Khan said review of the PSDP of Balochistan by the Senate committee was tantamount to intervention in the provincial affairs. They said the purpose of PSDP was welfare and development of the masses and its approval was given by an elected assembly. “Under the 18th Amendment no one has the right to intervene in the matters of a province,” they said and added the Senate committee had no authority to seek details from the province as it is against the provincial autonomy. They regretted that some senators of Balochistan had also played a role in this connection.