Quetta - Balochistan Assembly will meet today at 11:30am to elect new Leader of the House, with growing signs that PML-Q’s Mir Abdul Qadus Bizenjo will become the new chief minister.

This comes after former CM Nawab Sanaullah Zehri of PML-N resigned as chief minister on Jan 9 before a no-trust motion could be taken against him.

On Friday, Bizenjo – who was a key player in the move resulting in ouster of Zehri – filed his nomination papers at assembly secretariat. Two other contenders – Abdul Rehim Ziaratwal and Syed Liaquat Agah – both from the Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) also submitted their nomination papers.

After scrutiny, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Ms Raheela Hamid Durrani approved the nominations of all the three candidates. According to assembly secretary, any of the contenders can withdraw his candidature before the assembly session starts today (Saturday).

PkMAP, a coalition partner in the previous PML-N led four-party coalition government, has 14 lawmakers in the 65-member house, but no party had pledged to support it in the election until filing of this story. The National Party – another partner of the coalition that ruled for four and a half years – has decided to abstain from voting and sit on the opposition benches, spokesman Mir Jan Muhammad Buledi said after a party meeting on Friday. NP has 11 seats in the assembly.

The biggest party, PML-N which has 21 members in the house, is in total disarray after the rebellion against Zehri.

All this goes in favour of Abdul Qadus Bizenjo, who - besides the backing of his own 6-member party - has the support of at least six PML-N dissidents and the combined opposition – JUI-F (8 members), BNP-Mengal (2 members) and ANP (1 member).

The five PML-N MPAs, who staunchly supported Zehri during the crisis, also announced their support for Bizenjo after he visited Khosa House to seek their help.

Tight security and traffic mess

On Jan 9, they day assembly was to take up no-trust motion against the CM, a suicide attacker hit at the nearby GPO Chowk. Therefore, security had been beefed up on the occasion of the form submission for the CM position.

“All neighbouring areas of the assembly have been sealed and 900 Balochistan Constabulary, RRG, ATF and special branch personnel have been deployed for the assembly session,” Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Abdul Razaq Cheema told the media.

The closure of the key avenues in areas around the assembly without adoption of a proper traffic plan caused worst kind of mess in the city, making the commuters suffer badly.

Traffic was closed at Coaila Pattak (crossing) and Chaman Pattack which caused choking of traffic in surrounding areas of Serena Chowk, Civil Secretariat, Belili, Nawi Killi, Smuggli Road, Shabaz Town and Jinnah Road.

SSP Traffic has issued a traffic plan for today (Saturday), as per it the Zarghoon Road at TNT Chowk would be completely closed during the assembly session. He appealed the commuters to go for alternative roads during those hours of the day.

Talking about security arrangements, the DIG said 6,000 personnel of police, Frontier Corps and other security agencies have been deputed across the city and makeshift check points have been established to maintain tight security during the important session. He said the security men have been directed to not sit in their vehicles and trucks while they are stationery, and barriers have been placed around the check points and the parking points designated for police trucks so terrorists may not hit them.