LAHORE - With the election of a PML-Q leader as the new chief minister of Balochistan (bagging 41 votes in a house of 65) the politics of the country has entered a new phase which may take any turn-for the better or worse- in the days and weeks ahead. The change also carries various massages for the parties in the field.

For example, it’s a bad news for the PML-N which is the single largest party with 21 MPAs in the Balochistan Assembly. Its chief minister Sanaullah Zehri had to step down a few days ago as legislators belonging to the PML-N and the allied parties withdrew support, after which he lost majority’s confidence in the 65-member legislature. It received another setback on Saturday as it also failed to get elected its allied party PkMAP’s Agha Syed Liaquat, who could get only 13 votes. Balochistan chief minister needs at least 33 members to get elected or stay in office.

Still more painful for the PML-N is the fact that its arch rival, the PML-Q, has succeeded in getting its man – Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo – elected as the new chief executive of the country’s least populated federating unit. This was possible only as a result of behind the scenes moves by not so hidden hands.

Mr Bizenjo, it may be recalled, had bagged only 544 votes in the 2013 election on the provincial seat, which was a new record in lowest votes.

The PML-Q had only six MPAs in the house. But Mr Bizenjo’s tally on Saturday was unbelievable in the prevailing situation. The additional support was manipulated, ostensibly, by “invisible magicians” and the country’s future planners.

And this is not a small change.

A party that had almost disappeared from the political scene after the 2013 election will now be controlling a province. Hence, the party is now at par with the PPP and the PTI that are controlling Sindh and KP, respectively. And since all these parties are staunch opponents of the PML-N, they may join hands to take political situation to any direction in the near future.

These parties will be taking part in the January 17 protest being organised by the PAT in Lahore to call on the Punjab chief minister and law minister to quit because of their alleged involvement in more than a dozen deaths as a result of police action in Model Town some three years ago. (The government is taking measures to contain the protest).

The spectacular victory of the PML-Q man (with 41 votes) shows that the PML-N-led coalition cobbled together after the 2013 election has evaporated. The PML-N legislators have gone out of the leadership’s control – and are reportedly ready to face constitutional consequences of their revolt.

Similarly, three legislators of the National Party, which is coalition partner with the PML-N, have also reportedly supported the PML-Q man for the top slot.

An MPA of the PkMAP also followed suit, indicating that there are also cracks in the party of Mehmud Khan Achakzai.

The election of the new chief minister also established that the JUI-F remains an unpredictable party. At the central level it is in coalition with the PML-N, but it played an important role in the ouster of PML-N chief minister Sanaullah Zehri – and aggrandizement of his opponent Abdul Quddoos Bizenjo.

The JUI-F has the experience of working with the PML-N, the PPP and the PML-Q. (Expediency permitting, a time will come when it will also have good relations with the PTI of Imran Khan). Now that a PML-Q legislator is the chief executive of Balochistan, Punjab is the only province where the governor and the chief minister come from the PML-N. In KP, the governor comes from the PML-N while the chief minister belongs to the PTI. In Sindh the CM is from the PPP and the governor from PML-N. In Balochistan the CM is from the PML-Q and governor from the PkMAP.

Now the question is whether the Senate election will be held on schedule in March or the PPP, PTI and the PML-Q will play some role to delay the process.

Provincial legislatures are the electoral college for the Upper House of parliament and three assemblies are controlled by opposition parties.

Until recently the PPP and the PTI have been saying that the Senate election should be held on time. But it is difficult to say whether they will stick to the same position when the PML-Q leadership will want to do anything to damage the PML-N’s position.

PML-Q leader Senator Kamil Ali Agha says the party will not create any hurdle in the Senate election. But, observers say, it is too early to say whether the opposition parties will let the system work smoothly.