Quetta -  Balochistan opposition leaders on Wednesday said they will not become part of the new ruling setup but will support the candidate of the majority parties for the chief minister slot for the continuity of the democratic process.

“Opposition parties will extend every possible favour and support to the next setup that PML-N will form,” said Moulana Abdul Wasay (JUI-F), Sardar Akhtar Mengal (BNP-M), Engineer Zmarak Khan Achakzai (ANP) and Syed Ahsan Shah (BNP-Awami) in a joint press conference. Abdul Wasay, who is also Opposition Leader in Balochistan Assembly, told media persons about the decisions taken by the opposition parties in a huddle held to review political situation post Zehri’s resign.

“We have decided unanimously that no member of the united opposition will contest for the position of the CM,” the JUI-F leader said, adding that they had fulfilled their obligation as the opposition [by forcing CM Sanaullah Zehri out]. “Opposition will vote for the [new] candidate fielded by the PML-N and PML-Q for the slot of Leader of the House,” Moulana said.

“We will vote for the new chief minister and won’t let any such manoeuvre succeed as could sabotage the democratic setup,” he replied to a query. He clarified that those who were in opposition would remain on their benches while those who had moved the motion for house-change would [also] elect new Leader of the House.

Balochistan, which has been reeling under terrorist attacks for years, recently descended into a political whirlpool when 14 legislators (from PML-N, Q and opposition) pushed a motion of no-confidence against the chief minister on Jan 2.

Zehri stepped down as chief minister on Jan 9, minutes before the start of provincial assembly session which was to decide his fate.

Claims have been made that the political crisis has been created by the establishment with the aim to minimise PML-N’s share in the 11 Senate seats, polls for which are to be held in March. Despite opposition’s assurance of supporting continuation of the democratic process, uncertainty remains as some reports claimed the new Leader of the House could dissolve the assembly within a week or two, thereby further complicating the situation for Senate elections.


Monitoring Desk adds: The governor of Balochistan has summoned assembly session for January 13 to elect new chief minister, reported a private TV channel.

The names that have surfaced for the position of the chief minister are Saleh Bhutani and Jan Mohammad Jamali. The former has also served as the caretaker chief minister of Balochistan in 2007.