Quetta - Balochistan Assembly on Saturday elected Mir Abdul Qadus Bizenjo, a staunch forerunner of Zehri’s resignation movement, as Leader of the House.

Out of 65 lawmakers, 54 casted their vote in the election for the new chief executive of the province. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s Bizenjo won by securing 41 votes against his rival Syed Liaquat Agha of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) who bagged 13 votes.

Later in the day Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai administered oath to the newly elected chief minister and his 14 cabinet ministers.

The members of the new cabinet are Tahir Mehmood, Sardar Sarfraz Domki, Jangez Marri, Mir Sarfaraz Bugti, Mrs Rahat Jamali, Abdul Majeed Abro, Asim Kurd Giloo, Amir Rind, Ghulam Dastagir Dadini, Akbar Askani, Sheikh Jaffar Mandokhail, Agha Raza, Manzoor Ahmed Kakar and Prince Ahmed Ali.

Earlier when the assembly met at 11: 30am, the lawmakers offered fateha for late Air Martial Asghar Khan, the GPO Chowk martyrs and Zainab, a seven year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Kasur a few days ago.

Speaker Raheela Hamid Durrani, instructing procedure for the election for the new Leader of the House, said that two lobbies had been established for polling: Lobby-A for supporters of Bizenjo and Lobby-B for backers of Liaquat Agha.

The candidates required at least 33 votes in the 65-member assembly for victory. The election of Bizenjo became possible only due to collapse of the four-party ruling coalition.

Besides his own party, Mir Bizenjo was backed by dissidents of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, Balochistan National Party-Mengal, BNP-Awami, Awami National Party and Majlis-e-Wahdul Muslimeen.

PkMAP member Manzoor Khan Kakar and three National Party lawmakers – Khalid Khan Langov, Mujeed Hassni and Fateh Buledi – crossed the floor and voted for the PML-Q candidate. The NP had announced to abstain voting.

PkMAP parliamentary leader Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal later filed an application to the Election Commission of Pakistan for de-seating MPA Manzoor Khan for floor-crossing.

“The action of de-seating of has been taken under the article 163 of the constitution over violating party discipline,” Ziaratwal said in a press release.

It’s for the first time in the history of Balochistan and probably also of the country that a province will have a third chief minister in a single tenure of a provincial assembly.

Dr Malik Baloch of NP had served for the first two-and half years of the coalition government which was constituted as a result of the Murree agreement between PML-N, PML-Q, PkMAP and NP in 2013.

PML-N’s Nawab Sanaullah Zehri replaced Dr Malik and he was supposed to serve for the rest half of the tenure but he was forced out as a result of a rebellion against him. He resigned the very day the assembly was to take up a no-trust motion, filed against him by PML-Q members and his own party dissidents, on January 9.

Many politicians and journalists attended the Saturday’s session and witnessed voting process, but none of the two former chief ministers were present in the house.

Strict security measures were taken on the occasion and all avenues leading to the assembly were sealed, which affected city traffic.

Who is Bizenjo?

Bizenjo was born in 1974 in Awaran and completed his early education from his native town of Shindi. He secured a master’s degree in English from University of Balochistan in 2000.

Stepping into political arena, he was elected from PB-41 Awaran in 2002 elections and served as Minister for Livestock and Daily Development.

He was re-elected in 2008 on PML-Q ticket and served as minister in Nawab Aslam Raisani’s cabinet during its five-year tenure.

In 2013 general elections, Mir Bizenjo had again contested elections on PML-Q platform and won the seat by bagging just 544 votes. This happened as the voter turnout was extremely low because the separatists had announced boycott of the election and threretened attacks on the polling booths.

He was nominated as deputy speaker of the provincial assembly in June 2013 when PML-Q joined the PML-N led four-party coalition regime.

SENATE ELECTIONS TO BE HELD ON TIME: CM

Bizenjo warned bureaucracy that red-tapism and delaying tactics won’t be tolerated any more. He said restoration of law and order, quality education, provision of potable water and timely completion of Pak-China Economic Corridor are his priorities.

Speaking at assembly floor, Chief Minister said that no-confidence move against Nawab Sanaullah Zehri was his political and constitutional right and they committed no offense by tabling the motion.

He viewed that there were no personal differences with Nawab Sanaullah and appreciated him over tendering his resignation.

He also praised former home minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti for sacrificing his ministry and BNP-Mengal, BNP-Awami, Majlis Wahdat Muslemeen, ANP and JUI-F who rejected every offer for strengthening democracy process.

The chief minister also welcomed suggestions from treasury and opposition benches reiterating that he would try to make these part of his policy.

Bizenjo thanked PkMAP and NP lawmakers who voted for him.

Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo said that the Balochistan Assembly will complete its constitutional term and Senate elections will be held on time.

Talking to media persons after the assembly session, he said “The provincial government will deal with an iron hand those who are involved in the massacre of the innocent people.”

He said “The angry Balochs residing abroad would be welcomed if they returned to their homeland.”

The chief minister said “I am grateful to all the members of the assembly for supporting us in the no-confidence motion.”

Replying to a question about former CM, he said Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri is respectful for us, but we had some political differences with him.”

The chief minister said that the new provincial cabinet comprises 14 ministers and four advisers.

Portfolios of 14 ministers

The new Balochistan government announced portfolios assigned to new cabinet members, said an official press release.

Tahir Mehmood minister for education, Sardar Sarfraz Domki minister for fishery, Sarfraz Bugti minister for home and PDMA, Sheikh Jaffar Mandokhail minister for agriculture, Abdul Majid Abro minister for health, Ms Rahat Jamali minister for manpower and industries, Amir Khan Rind minister for S&GDA, Ghulam Dastagir Badeni minister for local governments and urban planning, Muhammad Akbar Askani minister for mines, Nawab Chengez Marri minister for irrigation and energy, Raza Agha minister for law and parliamentary affairs, forests and livestock, Hasim Kurd Gello minister for communication and developments, Manzoor Khan Kakar minister for Revenue and Prince Ahmed Ali minister for science, information technology and environment.