QUETTA - The performance of the Balochistan chief minister has been best commented upon by the Supreme Court. The court has said more than once that the Balochistan government has lost the constitutional right to stay in power. However, the government is clinging to power.

Chief Minister Aslam raisani says he is willing to step down in favour of anyone who can set the situation in the troubled province right. But, in actuality, he is dying not only to stay in power but to be able to get another term.

Let’s see who is doing what in Balochistan and why.

The Balochistan Assembly is the only provincial legislature in the country which is completing its five years tenure without an opposition leader.

This unenviable precedent must be mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records.

There was a time when the Balochistan Assembly used to be well known for its vibrant and effective oppositions. In fact, the provincial legislature’s proceedings were livelier compared to the assemblies of all other provinces. But, currently 54 out of 64 members of the house are either ministers or advisers, enjoying perks and privileges. This is certainly an unbearable burden on the resources of a province which is regarded as the most backward of all the federating units.

However, recently the younger brother of Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, Nawabzada Tariq Magsi, submitted his application in the assembly for the slot of opposition leader. After four and a half years, this is the third application by a member for the vacant slot.

The boycott of the 2008 general elections by the main nationalist parties is said to be one of the main reasons responsible for the vacant seat of the opposition leader. In the past, the post was occupied invariably by some nationalist leader. Chief Minister Raisani did his best to keep the slot vacant because he did not like anyone criticise his government. It’s common knowledge that Mr Raisani wanted to see all elected legislators in the government. And this is also one of the reasons that Balochistan has, perhaps, the world’s largest cabinet.

The only member of provincial assembly Raisani could not make part of his cabinet was Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, with whom the CM had a family feud running for the last 29 years. The feud had started in the 1980s on local government elections and more than 150 people have so far been killed as a result thereof.

Mr Rind belongs to the PML-Q and except for Jam Muhammad Yousaf and Yar Muhammad Rind all other PML-Q leaders have been supporting the Raisani government. Due to the unsettled feud, Mr Rind visited the Balochistan Assembly only once during the past four years and a half and that too when he was administered the oath of an MPA.

Though Mr Rind could not attend any subsequent session of the assembly, he submitted applications several times to become the opposition leader. But due to the chief minister and some others, he could not get the slot.

Later, two more members of the house came on opposition benches. They are Pir Abdul Qadir Gilani and Sardar Bakhtiar Khan Domki.

Mr Gilani, with the support of the remaining two fellow opposition MPs, gave application for leader of the opposition but according to political observers, he could not get the post due to the opposition offered by Speaker Muhammad Aslam Bhootani.

Likewise, standing committees could also not be formed, due to which the proceedings of the assembly were always poor in quality. In fact, the legislature held some sessions without even a formal agenda, which is also something new in parliamentary history.

The absence of an opposition leader has also its ramifications for the interim setup to be formed for the elections. Under the 18th Constitutional Amendment, consultation with the opposition leader is necessary for the appointment of an interim chief minister, Maybe, it is for this reason that the chief minister, at the fag end of the assembly term, has started efforts for the appointment of an opposition leader. Some say that Mr Raisani will like to bring in such a person as opposition leader who agrees with him to appoint an interim chief minister as could help Raisani get more seats in the next elections and thus enable him to get another term in office.

For this purpose, Chief Minister Raisani and Finance Minister Mir Asim Kurd Gailo are making efforts to choose a person who could serve their interests. So far, it is not clear whether they would support Nawabzada Tariq Magsi or bring any other member.

Sources said following differences between Speaker Bhootani and Chief Minister Raisani, the former would try his level best that the leader of opposition should not be of the CM’s choice. Though the chief minister has given ministries to all his cabinet members, he deprived a party minister - Jan Ali Changezai - of his portfolio because he had not attended the Balochistan Assembly session which had reposed trust in Raisani last month when the apex court had given judgment against him and held that his government had lost the right to rule.

Changezai, instead of attending the BA meeting, attended a gathering of PPP in Quetta, chaired by Mir Sadiq Umrani, that expressed no-trust in Nawab Raisani and demanded the federal government remove him.

Previously, the chief minister had also stripped Mir Sadiq Umrani of Communication and Works Department and given the same to two PPP MPAs: Agha Irfan and Ali Madad Jattak.